picture of builings

Council Funding

In the current climate of central government austerity, the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic, and post Brexit changes, funding remains our greatest challenge. Our funding has been cut hugely over the last ten years, and further cuts anticipated in this and coming years present us with a huge challenge.

Since 2010, we have responded to austerity by adjusting to reduced funding and growth pressures by making £190 million of cuts in the ten years since 2010/11. Our general fund budget for 2021/22 is £243 million. If we were still funded at 2010/11 levels, it would be £406 million. This represents a reduction of 60%.

Our financial strategy

Legally, we have to set a balanced budget every year.

The budget determines how much we expect to spend, and matches this to the available income. Knowing the level of grant, business rates and reserves available for the year helps us calculate the amount of council tax needed. This has to be done in line with requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

The way we use our financial resources has a major impact on strategic planning and performance improvement.

We have a five-year financial strategy that enables us to ensure that budget plans are consistent with our corporate priorities. Our budget is a key contributor to the achievement of our corporate priorities.

The budget is the main mechanism that allows us to plan our activity and work from a stable financial base.

Our estimated level of resources available and the level of expenditure are subject to change, but the key assumptions for the revenue budget for 2022–2026 are as follows:

  • The framework is largely known, but depends on a roll forward of current levels and the integrated Better Care Fund arrangements for health and social care funding continuing.

  • The national decisions regarding the Fair Funding Review and the Comprehensive Spending Review are not expected to be implemented before 2023.

Continued public sector austerity is certain, and this means more cuts. The expected impact over the next four years is an additional £26 million of cuts.

Comparison 2010 to 2021 of Lewisham General Fun Budget

Council tax as a percentage of our general fund budget:

Lewisham Council Tax as share of budget chart

Population growth against level of cuts implemented over last 10 years.

Population growth against level of cuts over the last 10 years chart