Greenwich to see 5 per cent council tax rise and £33m budget cuts

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents in one borough will face a council tax rise of around five per cent from April, as the authority outlines plans to make over £30million worth of cuts.

Greenwich council said in a report that several ‘savings opportunities’ were planned to address overspends in its financial plan, with a budget black hole of £54million projected by 2028.

In a report for a scrutiny meeting on February 20, council officers said that £33.7million worth of cuts were being proposed for the upcoming financial year. These could target libraries, leisure centres, children’s centres and pay and display parking.

The cuts come from a list of 118 proposals, with officers claiming over a decade of Government austerity had led to the authority facing £150million of pressures in that time.

The entrance to Woolwich Town Hall, where Greenwich council holds its meetings (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

The report said reducing the number and opening hours of libraries and leisure centres across the borough would provide £1.05million of savings.

Closing children’s centres across the borough and reducing services was also cited as giving an extra £2million to the budget. Officers said in their report that the authority spends £5.6million per year on the service, about twice as much as the next highest spending authority.

The cuts come after the council ran an online consultation last December and January regarding which services residents wanted to be financially protected.

A rise in council tax is also planned to meet the remaining £6million budget gap for the upcoming financial year. The 4.99pc increase is the greatest amount that local authorities can raise taxes by without the need for a referendum.

The proposed service cuts and increase in council tax will be discussed at a scrutiny meeting on February 20, before being passed to the authority’s cabinet for further consideration.

Pictured top: The Woolwich Centre, where Greenwich council’s offices are based (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

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