Nearly half of Lewisham Council’s budget for the next year is funded by council tax.  

Following Mayor and cabinet approval earlier in the month, full council backed the budget for 2020/21 on Wednesday (February 26), 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, was also backed “with a heavy heart” by the only opposition, Independent Councillor Alan Smith.  

The council expects it will need to make £40 million worth of cuts over the next three years. 

Mayor Damien Egan reiterated what he said on February 6, blaming Government cuts and expressing concerns about the future of services which he said are “critically underfunded”.  

“Our borough is seeing growing poverty, a growing need and demand on our local services, and the report that is out this week has shown the acute impact of austerity on the most deprived in our community in terms of life expectancy over the last decade.  

“It really is quite shocking,” he said. 

Council tax – which now makes up 47 per cent of the budget – 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.  

“[This] demonstrates even more how the burden is increasingly falling on local residents,” Mayor Egan said.  

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.  

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

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’.   

The £40 million in expected cuts 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.