A petition is calling for income tax to be increased to offset the impact of government funding cuts.

Wanstead Quaker group, based in Bush Road, is calling for those paying £40,000 or more to pay an extra 1p in every pound after Redbridge Council cut the budget for social services by £1.9million this year, with total required savings of £21million over the next two years.

The online petition, part of the Fair Penny Campaign, has already received 1,085 signatures.

It will be presented to Redbridge Council if the total reaches 2,000, the amount needed to force a full council debate on the proposal.

The petition states: “Austerity measures are affecting the poor disproportionately, increasing inequality.

“We see this as an injustice: everyone has a right to a fair share and everyone ought to contribute fairly.

"It's the government's job to make sure this happens.

“Many people are willing to pay an extra penny in tax to help prevent cuts to benefits and services.”

Members of Wanstead Quaker group admitted the proposal would not be popular with many people, but said they are determined to publicise the issue.

Kate Green, 65, of Blake Hall Crescent, Wanstead, said: “All we want to do is get justice for the poor.

“We want to show all the political parties that there are people who care and people who want to give more so the disadvantaged don’t struggle as they are.

“It is true that many people will not be willing to pay more tax and we understand that. But because of our faith we have been led to act, and our petition has received loads of support so far.”

Melvyn Freake, 66, of Hamilton Avenue, Barkingside, said: “People earning over £40,000 a year can afford to give this extra money.

“The idea of paying more tax may seem a bad idea, but I want people to realise that paying extra can contribute to the greater welfare of society.

“Rather than cutting, the government could actually choose to spend money on people, we want to show that people are willing to spend a bit extra to help out."

Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council, Ian Bond, said the proposed tax rise could be counter-productive.

He said: "I recognise the concerns that this campaign is raising.  Liberal Democrats are working hard both in government and on the council to manage with less money and mitigate the impact on the poorest.

"For example, the Redbridge Council Tax Support Scheme offers more support than those of neighbouring boroughs. However Lib Dems nationally are proud of having reduced income tax for lower earners; I do not think that an across-the-board tax increase for everyone would be the fairest way of raising extra money."