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Council tax in Havering set to increase by 4.5 per cent

Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White, said the proposed increase in council tax is “with regret”.

Council tax in Havering is set to increase by 4.5 per cent after Havering Council’s Cabinet agreed its budget.

The council will consider a general increase of 1.5 per cent as it looks to make further savings and efficiencies of £17.1m, while social care will be funded by a further three per cent increase as requested by central government to bridge funding gaps in the area.

Elsewhere in the agreed budget, an additional £10m of capital spending has been agreed to ensure the road and pavement improvement programme continues over the next two years, with it so far seeing 60 miles of roads and pavements in Havering being improved since 2019.

An extra £5m will be spent on new CCTV cameras across the borough to replace the current system, and funding of £300,000 per year will continue for six dedicated police officers to respond to specific Havering issues.

The budget proposals will also provide the necessary funding to open a new multi-million pound leisure centre in the south of Rainham in 2022, while £2m will also be invested in the borough’s parks.

Funding for the borough’s new Virtual Community Hub will be maintained, with four additional Local Area Coordinators also being recruited for the Harold Hill, Rainham and South Hornchurch areas in order to continue providing support for Havering’s communities.

Weekly rubbish collections will continue and street cleaning levels will remain the same. Havering Council will also continue to offer free parking on Sundays, as well as free on-street bay parking in Hornchurch, Rainham and Romford, and a 20 per cent discount for key workers and those using the online parking app.

The agreed budget will now go to the annual Council Tax Council for final agreement by councillors.

Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White, said: “I am really proud of how the Council has responded to the financial pressures we face. During this time we have still been able to invest in our roads, parks, public safety and communities.

“We will still deliver the services that matter most like weekly rubbish collections, excellent leisure facilities and green spaces as well as support for the most vulnerable.

“This is set against a backdrop of our response to the pandemic where we have been able to support residents through the Havering Helps scheme. This has included help to buy food, school uniforms, and provide cash to pay for utility bills and repairing and replacing white goods. As part of our support during these difficult times we have also been providing free school meals when needed most.

“Before this we had some tough years and Covid has added to the pressures on our finances. We have had support from the Government, but it is still not enough to bridge the financial gap, meaning we still needed to make £17.1 million in savings.

“This means we will have to find other ways of doing things such as continued efficient running of services, investment in technology and looking at how we use our buildings better to deliver these services in our communities.

“It will also mean, with regret, a proposed increase in Council tax of 1.50 per cent. There is also an additional 3 per cent Government precept to support one of the most costly but important services, social care.

“However, as one of the most efficient councils in the country, I am confident this can be achieved while we still continue to deliver the services residents value and need.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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