Lewisham will need to make £40 million worth of cuts over the next three years, it was announced at the budget meeting last week.  

Mayor and cabinet backed the budget for 2020/21 on Wednesday (February 6), which includes a 3.99 per cent council tax rise and 2.7 per cent increase in council tenant rent.  

Adult social care was cut by £4 million in October last year. 

The budget, including £16.6 million worth of cuts overall, will be presented to full council on February 26.  

Mayor Damien Egan and cabinet members expressed regret over the cuts and concern about the uncertainty surrounding future central Government funding.  

He said: “We wish we would have a budget of investment when in fact we have again, after a decade of austerity, further cuts imposed by central Government.  

“Services across the country are critically underfunded and Lewisham is no exception.” 

Council tax will rise by 1.99 per cent plus a two per cent adult social care precept rise, while council tenants will pay on average an extra £2.56 per week. 

Funding for primary and secondary schools will increase by 1.84 per cent.  

“But this presents a real term decrease in funding once salary and other inflationary increases are taken into account.  

“Falling primary school rolls and the rising need for SEN support mean that schools are under a lot of financial pressure,” said Cllr Amanda De Ryk, cabinet member for finance and resources, as she presented the report. 

The council will borrow more than £300 million, mainly to fund its building for Lewisham programme, which aims to build more social housing across the borough. 

Mayor Egan said: “We are faced with the harsh reality of cutting services by over £16 million alongside the challenge of delivering on the bold ambitions that we set out in the manifesto we were elected on.  

“Even in these most difficult circumstances we have been able to identify areas of investment. 

“These include action on the climate emergency, which will require redirected resources for us to address this challenge and show real leadership, [and] our work to become a sanctuary borough – we’re proud that we’re becoming London’s lead borough in refugee resettlement.” 

More than £3 million has been set aside to ‘make Lewisham greener’, while more than £1 million is earmarked for making the borough ‘open and inclusive’.  

But he said: “In terms of balancing the budget we remain conscious that there are future risks to local government funding.  

“We have agreed £16 million of cuts but we still need to identify a further £40 million worth of cuts over the next three years.” 

The forecast is in response to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that he would like to see cuts of five per cent across all Government departments. 

Boris Johnson urged ministers to considering axing plans that do not tackle crime, inequality, or improve health.