Tower Hamlets, an independent-run borough in East London, is set to tap into its reserves and allocate tens of millions of pounds to keep council tax bills low and offer a cost-of-living support package. The move is aimed at helping residents who are grappling with the effects of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
To keep the tax bills low, Tower Hamlets will add a modest 2 percent social care allowance. The borough also plans to spend £3.7 million to expand its free school meal programme to secondary school children, £500,000 on educational maintenance allowance, and £600,000 on university bursaries.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s spokesman said that the allocation from reserves would help the borough’s residents weather the cost-of-living crisis. The move comes as a relief to many residents who have been struggling with rising prices for essentials like food, housing, and energy.
The decision to draw from reserves has received mixed reactions from the council. Some have praised the move as a proactive step to help residents in these difficult times. Others, however, have criticised the council for drawing from its reserves, arguing that it might lead to a reduction in essential services in the long run.
Despite the mixed reactions, the move by Tower Hamlets is expected to provide much-needed relief to many of its residents. The council’s decision to allocate funds for free school meals, educational maintenance allowance, and university bursaries is particularly welcome, as it will help ensure that children and young people can access essential services without being held back by financial constraints.