Lewisham residents face paying nearly £100 extra on average for council tax after a hike of 4.99 per cent was approved by mayor and cabinet. 

The rise is the biggest increase that can be made without the council holding a referendum, but Lewisham said it must go forward with it to avoid even more cuts.  

Overall council tax for 2021/22 is set to increase by 5.91 per cent, when the GLA precept hike in the Mayor of London’s draft budget proposals is included. 

This means the average Band D property council tax for 2021/22 will be £1,743.62.  

Last night (February 3) members approved the coming year’s budget, along with £40 million in cuts over the next three years.  

See more: Budget cuts Lewisham: Services will be affected

Some of the cuts are still be subject to consultation and will have to come back to mayor and cabinet. The budget and cuts will then go to full council in March.  

The council needs to make £40 million in cuts over the next three years.  

The second round of cuts proposals worth £15.1 million have been going around scrutiny committees in the past few weeks, added to the first round of more than £26 million approved by mayor and cabinet in December.   

The total cuts planned for next year are £28 million, which include £10 million being used to address a recurring overspend in the budget.   

The council will also likely need to take just over £3 million from its £20 million reserves next year to address an overspend not covered by the cuts.    

Along with the 4.99 per cent increase in council tax, the budget includes a proposed rent increase of 1.5 per cent, an average of £1.46 per week.   

Cllr Amanda De Ryk, cabinet member for finance and resources, presented the budget to mayor and cabinet.  

She said: “We are recommending the maximum increase [in council tax] because services are very stretched after ten years of austerity funding and the impact of the Covid pandemic on Lewisham residents and the council. 

“Central Government are continuing to shift local government resourcing away from central funding to local income raising.  

“We are aware that this will be particularly difficult news for residents who face uncertain and reduced income in the coming year and we have put in place measures to help residents who are experience financial difficulty. 

“This concern is reflected in the increase of claimant numbers for our council tax reduction scheme. 

“As a council, if we don’t take the maximum increase that the Government assumes we should, we will be forced to make deeper cuts and will be penalised in future Government settlement calculations.”