The Blackheath fireworks display could be cancelled for “at least three years”, according to Lewisham Council’s draft budget cuts.  

The council has identified nearly £27 million in possible cuts, out of £40 million planned over the next three years.   

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Covid-19 has left the council with a £20 million black hole in its finances – Lewisham is facing a budget shortfall of £34 million for next year alone. 

Cuts of £15 million for 2021/22 have been proposed at this stage, leaving a potential gap of more than £18 million, depending on Government funding.  

Further cuts will be put forward in January to address that gap for the 2021/22 budget in February. 

One of the potential cuts is to council events, through which Lewisham hopes to save £100,000 over three years. 

The proposal includes “pausing the annual Blackheath fireworks display until at least 2023” and looking at how to cut costs “in the delivery of the civic events programme through working in partnership with other organisations to attract match funding where possible”.  

In 2023, after the Borough of Culture year, a further review of the remaining events is planned to “drive additional cuts if needed”. 

An appendix to the budget cuts report includes the impact and risks associated with the proposals.  

It states: “Annual Blackheath Fireworks display that attracts 60, 000 to 100,000 people will cease. 

“This is one of London’s last free annual displays providing a safe way for families to mark Guy Fawkes night. There would be no council supported alternative to this event.” 

Lewisham People’s Day, south east London’s oldest free festival, would still be retained “in some form”, according to the document.  

The Blackheath fireworks displays, which costs about £35,000 a year, was cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19. 

Lewisham’s mayor Damien Egan said the cuts are still only draft proposals.  

“We’ve had ten years of Government cuts in the borough – in 2010 we had a budget of around £400 million, today it’s around £240,000. 

“Lewisham has always managed its budget well, it’s something the council has always done and will continue to do. 

“It was very difficult before the pandemic, what’s happening now, the scale of the cuts being imposed on the council is huge,” he said.