Lewisham Council fears £87m of cuts

Reader Tabitha has rightly prodded us to report the Council's statement on the scale of the spending cuts it needs to make over the next four years, following the announcement of the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement in December. The Council says it will need to find £87m and has until January 17th 2010 to respond to the Government's proposal. We're guessing that they will be against it.

Here's the statement:

Lewisham Council is absorbing the true scale of the spending cuts it is faced with following the Government’s announcement of the money it proposes to give local councils over the next two years.

The Council had been planning to have to reduce its budget by £60million over the next three years.

Following the recent announcement, it now seems it will be forced to find a massive £87million over the coming four years. Next year alone it is facing a reduction of £33million.

“These figures add up to the greatest financial challenge the Council has ever had to face,” said Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock.

“So far we have been able to meet most of our savings through efficiencies and have protected services to the most vulnerable.But we had been expecting to reduce our budget by around £20 million next year – now we know we have to increase that amount by a further £13 million.

“We will continue to do what we can to reduce the Council’s costs, like, for example, with our innovative IT procurement deal done in partnership with Bromley Council that is saving us around £1.5 million a year.

I will also continue to prioritise services for vulnerable adults and children and young people. But we will, inevitably, have to shrink the size and scope of the Council and seriously consider what services we continue to provide and how we provide them.”

It is still not clear how all the grants to the Council from central Government will be affected.