How we are funded
Where our money comes from
Funding remains our greatest issue. Our funding has been cut hugely over the last eight 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 the reduced funding and growth pressures by making £173 million of cuts in the eight years since 2010/11. Our general fund budget for 2018/19 is £243 million. If we were still funded at 2010/11 levels, it would be £409 million. This represents a reduction of 41%.
How much in each £1?
Government grants - 63p
Fees and charges - 11p
Retained business rates - 14p
Council tax - 12p
Making ends meet
At the same time as our budgets are being cut, demand for many local services continues to rise. People are living longer and need more specialist support to ensure they have a good quality of life, and the number of children on child protection plans has increased, putting pressure on our children’s services.
Cuts to preventative services have also lead to a rise in the things they are trying to prevent, meaning that as some services are cut, there’s a greater need for other services.
How we’re tackling the challenge
We’re working hard to make the most of the money we have, to protect the services that matter the most to you. We’ve managed to save £173 million since 2010 with only a limited impact on front-line services.
We have done this by making the way we do things as efficient as possible, and by sharing services with other councils. We have also made significant cuts to our back-office functions. Lewisham Council is half the size it was in 2010, which means it can take us longer to do some things than it used to.
We’re also rethinking how we design our services around the people that use them, to make sure they’re joined up and residents can get what they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. We want to identify the issues that local people face as early as possible, to prevent them from getting worse. This makes the experience better for local people, and also saves us money.
How can I help?
Do it online - It’s cheaper for us to process requests online than over the phone or in person – an online transaction costs roughly 15p, compared to £2.83 over the phone or £8.62 in person. And it’s quicker and easier for you too. If you don’t have a computer or smartphone, our libraries are more than happy to help you access the services you need from our website.
Go green - It costs a lot to send rubbish to landfill and is far cheaper to recycle it – and of course it is better for the environment. By recycling as much as you can, you can help save the council thousands of pounds each year. You could even volunteer to help improve the environment in Lewisham.
Get involved - There are many voluntary organisations in Lewisham that play a crucial role in the community, but they rely on local people’s help and support. Consider getting involved – it can combat isolation and make a big difference to those in need. For example, you could get involved with Age Exchange, help out in a local library or arts organisation, or teach English. We also have lots of children in the borough who need foster care, so if you know anyone who might be interested then you could suggest they get in touch.
Have your say
If you want to get involved in how we make decisions about our spending or anything else, there are lots of ways you can have your say.
As part of our recent local democracy review, we identified many new ways we can help local residents to become part of our decision making process. We will be exploring these further over the coming months.