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Lewisham Council reveals £28.3m cuts proposals
LEWISHAM Council has published proposals to make cuts across three years totalling £28.3m - and it's bad news for just about everyone.
The proposals, which are being given to select committees for feedback ahead of a final decision next year, would see £14.1m slashed from the 2013/14 budget, £13.3m cut the following year and a final £900,000 in 2015/16.
They include withdrawing the discretionary Freedom Pass for 842 disabled and mentally ill people in the borough, increasing bereavement charges and a drastic reduction in street sweeping from once a week to just once each month.
The community services directorate would be the biggest loser, with a £9,618,000 cut to its budget over the three years.
The children and young people department would also see a big cut, losing £8,126,000.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: "These cuts are needed because the government has decided to single out local government to carry a huge part of the burden of reducing the deficit."
He claimed the council had tried to protect vulnerable people, but added: "We're at a stage where none of these things are pleasant or what we'd choose to do."
Lewisham has already reduced its budget by £53m since 2010 but, with a government announcement on local authority funding due later this year, he warned there could be more to come.
He said: "It could get a whole lot worse. It could also get a whole lot better, but I'm not putting money on that."
A Lewisham Council spokesman said: "We are developing proposals for that budget and these will be scrutinised by councillors in the coming weeks.
"We will consult service users as well as our staff and other stakeholders on specific proposals where that is appropriate.
"No decisions have been taken. The mayor will be looking at proposals at the meeting of Mayor and Cabinet in January before they are put to council.”
A review of school meal prices. SAVING - £150,000.
Slashing Local Assemblies budget from £337,500 to £150,000. SAVING - 187,500.
Reduced funding for residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation, along with team budget. SAVING - £207,000.
Downsizing the community safety service for victims of anti-social behaviour and domestic violence. SAVING: £270,000.
Cuts to Supporting People budget which provides support to vulnerable people and helps prevent homelessness. SAVING: £1,700,000.
Removing services from 'underused' Horizones and Wesley Halls day care centres, plus service remodelling. SAVING 1,000,000.
Increasing bereavement services fees above inflation. SAVING: £109,000.
Reduce sweeping of all residential roads to a minimum of once a month rather than weekly. SAVING: £750,000.
Charging £10 for every Blue Badge issued. SAVING: £12,000.
Withdrawing discretionary Freedom Passes. SAVING: £200,000.
To see the full list of cuts visit Lewisham Council's website at http://bit.ly/XdxGrq