Tuesday, 22 March 2011

We Came, We Were Consulted, We Were Ignored


Other than schools, roads and libraries are the main services that the average council tax payer will enjoy. Indeed, libraries are amongst the top three most-valued services identified by the County Council's own public consultation.

Yet in the budget cuts pushed through County Council last month by the ruling Conservatives, the Library Service is taking the biggest percentage cut - 48% - of any county council service. A total of 13 libraries have now been told them must convert to community run libraries, or close. In South Cambs, these include Comberton, Cottenham, Linton, Sawston and even Shelford - a library only just reopened after a costly refurbishment.

A vast amount of officer time will now be spent, and a great deal of community upheaval will be endured, trying to make these conversions succeed in order to prevent outright closures. All in all, 13 library conversions would be expected to save the Council a measley £300K at most, out of a budget of nearly £500 million.

Those same communities are already paying their council tax out, of which they have every right to expect the library service that has been in place until now. Those same communities are also being asked to pay for the rescue of youth clubs and bus services.

It is feared that overburdening local communities with too many demands for rescuing public services dumped by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Conservatives will mean spreading precious resources to thin and therefore less chance of saving anything at all.

Please circulate this Cambridgeshire petition against library closures:

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43867.html

You can also support Cambridgeshire libraries by joining Save Cambridgeshire Libraries on Facebook.

A national campaign challenging local authorities to uphold their statutory duty to provide libary services can be found at: http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/?p=1351&utm_source=t