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Massive Tory cuts to council funding threaten local services

The Tory Chancellor today signalled massive further spending cuts for local government in the coming years.

In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Chancellor announced another £4.1 billion of cuts to local government. This comes on top of reductions of 40% in the last five years, which have hit poorer areas like Lewisham the hardest. It is part of an ideologically-inspired drive to shrink the state.

Lewisham Council gets most of its funding from central government. Our controllable budget has dropped by £120 million due to central government cuts. As a result, the Council has lost almost 2,000 staff.

By law, we are required to set a balanced budget – if we do not, the Government would send in accountants to do it for us.

This means some incredibly difficult decisions. In recent years, we’ve done our best to protect frontline services that our community values and relies on. With large further cuts, this is becoming increasingly difficult.

However even in tough times there is still much that the Council can do. Lewisham Labour will always be on the side of ordinary people. We’re taking action to tackle the housing in Lewisham by building 500 council homes and 2,000 affordable homes. We have just introduced an incentive scheme to encourage employers locally to pay the Living Wage – as we do. And we’ve kept Council Tax frozen for six of the last seven years to help families facing a squeeze on the cost of living.

But if we want to fight back against Tory cuts, it’s vital that we win the Mayor of London elections next year. You can find out more about getting involved here.  

Mayor Steve Bullock said, ‘The plans set out by Osborne will leave local services in grave danger, particularly those in hard pressed urban areas like Lewisham. I have to echo the words of the Conservative chair of the LGA, Lord Porter, who said "Even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020."

Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources said 'George Osborne's so-called "long term economic plan" has failed to eliminate the national deficit as he had promised for this year and inflicted needless suffering for the most vulnerable people in our community. We have done our best in Lewisham to protect our residents from the consequences of these brutal cuts, but today's announcement makes that even harder.​'

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