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Council Tax - explained

Your Council Tax bill for this year will soon be landing on your doorstep. Here’s what you need to know.

Councils are funded through a combination of business rates, central Government grants and your Council Tax. We also generate income through one off grants, rents and investments. The council’s budget for 2023/24 was approved by Full Council on 1 March. 

In Lewisham, Council Tax raised locally to fund services (rather than being funded by Government, which has decreased since) has increased from £78m to £132m and now represents over 50% of our budget compared to 29% in 2014. This comes on top of the £234m of cuts that this council has been forced to make since 2010 due to less Government funding every year.

Reduced funding leaves us in a difficult position and we have to make difficult decisions; at a time when the cost of living is spiralling, increasing energy costs, and inflation. 

We don’t want to increase Council Tax, but if we don’t we won’t have the money to fund the important services we all need and value, like community safety, parks, libraries, leisure centres and youth services.

To keep these services going, it is proposed that we will increase your Council Tax by 4.99% – which is less than the rate of inflation. Forty percent of this will go directly towards funding adult social care, which supports people with disabilities, mental health issues and dementia, as well as our elderly residents.

How will this affect you?

In Lewisham average Band D properties will pay an extra 4.99% - about £6 more per month. The Mayor of London is also increasing his share of Council Tax, meaning in total average bills will go up by nearly £10 a month.

What does your Council tax go towards? 

  • 51,500 young people in our 75 schools 
  • 17 million bins collected which equals 81,000 tonnes of waste (that’s nearly 7,000 London red buses) 
  • Maintenance of over 1,200km of roads and pavements
  • Maintenance of our 47 parks and green spaces and retained our Green flags status 
  • 12 libraries with books, employment support, and digital access, which are visited 475,000 times
  • 725,000 leisure visits across six centres 
  • 440,000 customer service transactions
  • We have worked with local charities to launch 44 warm hubs across the borough. 

Help paying your Council Tax

We know that times are tough and we are doing everything we can to support those who may find it difficult to pay. We are continuing to invest in our Council Tax Reduction Scheme, so if you’re worried about paying your Council Tax, please speak to us – as support may be available. 

The Government has also applied a £25 reduction to those households already receiving Council tax support, which will be applied automatically. We also have several resources available at our online support hub on the Council’s webpage.  

If your financial situation has changed recently you may also be eligible for other support

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