Mayor faces public grilling over fears of Tower Hamlets council tax rise in April

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 08 January 2020

Mayor John Biggs...

Mayor John Biggs... "New Local Plan sets out how we'll manage unprecedented population growth." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

The mayor is laying it on the line in public over fears that Tower Hamlets council tax could be rising in April.

John Biggs is to face questions at an open meeting following last month's cabinet decision hinting at service cuts in the next three years.

The public session is being held at Poplar's Spotlight youth centre at Hay Currie Street, next to Langdon Park DLR, on January 16.

The mayor has been urged not to raise council tax in April to cover any funding gap from the government.

But a tough budget is now on the cards, despite six weeks of public consultations which have exposed opposition to any tax rise.

"These are financially uncertain times," Mayor Biggs has warned. "But we've worked to safeguard frontline services where we can.

"It's clear that there's a growing need for services for many of our most vulnerable residents is set to increase."

He has hinted at "tough choices" to keep those services going.

The consultations before the holidays with 2,000 responses from households and businesses exposed opposition to any tax rise. Half opposed a rise, yet 38pc supported a 2pc increase, with 47pc in favour specifically to support adult social care, it emerged at the mayor's cabinet meeting on December 18.

The "most valued" council functions in the survey were children's services and education and those supporting the vulnerable and elderly.

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