Council tax in Lewisham is set to rise by 2.99% from next month.
2.99% is the maximum increase permitted without the need to receive approval via referendum.
Lewisham Council referred to the government’s austerity measures of the last 12 years as one of the reasons for the increase.
The council has also seen a reduction in their annual budget from £400m to £250m during the pandemic as part of wider decreases in central government funding for local councils.
The tax rise means that those living in band D homes will pay an extra £41 per year, as council tax is based on a 1991 home values standard.
The council tax also rose by 4% in 2020.
Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan said: “The government’s levelling up agenda sadly seems to be being used as an excuse to take money away from London, forgetting the fact that within communities like Lewisham there are high levels of deprivation.”
Des Muller, a Forest Hill resident, said: “I am sympathetic to Lewisham Council’s plight, because the government have cut the grant that they receive over the 12 years the Conservatives have been in power, and they have to do the same with less.”
Trish Sarris, a Crofton Park resident, said: “I am happy to pay it as the alternative is service cuts which would be detrimental to services.”
However, not everyone is happy with the increase. Mark Holland, a Sydenham resident, said: “I understand that the council need money to pay for public services, but at the same time people are facing rising food and fuel costs, so they can’t afford to pay a higher council tax bill.”
The rise comes alongside sharp increases in the cost of living, particularly around energy prices.
However, Lewisham Council have set up a Council Tax Rebate Scheme of £150 to help residents in Council Tax Bands A to D with these costs.
This scheme is only applicable to those who pay their council tax by direct debit as the council will only be able to pay any rebate into council taxpayers’ bank accounts. The scheme is due to come into effect next month.