Mayor of Lewisham says councils are government 'scapegoat' after £95m cuts revealed (From News Shopper)
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Mayor of Lewisham says councils are government 'scapegoat' after £95m cuts revealed
THE Mayor of Lewisham has accused the government of making a "scapegoat" of councils with more "deprived" areas like Lewisham being targeted.
It comes after Lewisham Council revealed it must cut an extra £10m from its budget - bringing total savings to a whopping £95m over the next four years.
It says the latest onslaught comes from government proposals on top of £82m which the council has slashed from its budget since May 2010.
Lewisham originally estimated £85m of cuts would be needed over the next four years but the latest breakdown of government figures shows an extra £10m is required.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock told News Shopper: "This is a national issue about local government being the scapegoat.
"I don’t think their approach is right. I think they are cutting too much too quickly and it isn’t being done in a fair way.
"It does seem like places like Lewisham are being hit harder than some of the leafier places in the country where they don’t have the same deprivation that we do.
"I don’t think they care to be honest and every council in the country is facing an incredibly difficult situation over the next two to three years."
The estimated £85m of cuts included money-saving devices such as cutting adult social care by £2.5m by doubling up services with GPs.
Sir Steve said the council will continue to try to protect frontline services as much as possible but warned there would be some "tough decisions" ahead.
He said: "We continue to try wherever possible to reduce our budget by changing the way we do things, driving harder bargains in the services we contract out, and working in partnership with others to save money without affecting frontline services.
"And I am determined that we go on protecting the things people value most. But inevitably there will be some tough decisions ahead of us."
The full council’s budget meeting is due to take place on February 26.
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