Town hall chief warns council tax could increase by almost 6 per cent in Barking and Dagenham

Clrr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. Picture credit: Sophie Mor

Clrr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. Picture credit: Sophie Morton. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Dominic Twomey, deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, revealed the possible increase during a Facebook live session hosted by the Post yesterday.

The Labour politician answered questions posed by residents relating to the council’s budget plans which means they must make £63m in savings by 2021.

Initially it was thought council tax would rise by 4.99 but Cllr Twomey said: “The government has said councils can raise council tax by 1.99pc to 2.99pc without having to have a referendum so it may go up to 5.99pc.

“It’s hard for us to refuse not to raise council tax because we froze it for seven years and unfortunately we are sometimes now paying the price for doing that.

“If we have continued raising it by small amounts we would have more money now which means the savings wouldn’t be as difficult as they are now.”

If the increase is implemented the council will raise an addition £3m however they will still be forced to make cuts with the axe wielding over its highly successful Summer Festival Programme which costs £269,000.

Cllr Twomey said: “I think it’s right to look at every single part of the council that that costs us money.

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“If people come and say they do not want to stop the summer festivals it brings the community together then we will listen to them.

“We are looking at every area of the council and that’s fair.

“No one can say we are targeting a specific service.”

Other possible casualties include street cleaning in ‘low footfall areas’ to save £469,000.

“These are the smaller streets in the borough that are not part of the town centre, shopping parades and don’t have schools on them,” Cllr Towmey said.

“They would have less frequent visits but at a level where they are still clean.”

He added: “We are looking at the length and breadth of the council to make savings.”