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Ealing and Northfield

Labour doubles library cuts

You probably missed the council’s big press release on their cutting library hours by 9% this week. That will be because there wasn’t one of course. The council uses your council tax to pay a communications team to keep bad news from you and to only pass on pointless, good news puff pieces such as this patronising walk to school nonsense. Great photo Cllr Bell.

Last July after the Labour council retreated from plans to close four libraries they mapped out the way forward in a cabinet report. That report talked about curtailing library hours and delegated authority to make the changes to the executive director of Environment and Customer Services. The report mentioned 25 hours of cuts, bad enough. The number published this week is 57.5 hours, more than twice as much and a 9% cut in opening hours. Although the decision was delegated there is no way it was not discussed with Labour’s Cllr Ranjit Dheer who is in charge of this service and I am sure that he discussed it with council leader Julian Bell.

The change comes into force on 2nd July. It will see 20 library staff lose their jobs. Northfield library in my own ward will lose its two late opening evenings on Tuesday and Thursday. This really is a bad move. Notably the Labour administration has failed to explore new working practices, such as single handed working or using cheaper security guard type staff to manage any safety issues associated with single handed working. The managers stay in their back offices and the closed sign appears at 11 libraries.

The contrast between this library cut of 9% and unchanged union facility time and senior management costs which actually rose 2.2% last year stinks.

The changes are detailed in this spreadsheet. A much less frank piece from the council is here.

Update: I was mistaken. Apparently there was a press release but I missed it because it was hidden away rather than being put on the front page like Bell’s Abbey Road high jinks. Mea culpa. Of course the council’s press release and web page failed to quantify the cut in hours and failed to give current hours with new hours so that you could work it out for yourself. We pay these people to us half the story.

2 replies on “Labour doubles library cuts”

Over 100 residents volunteered to help staff the Libraries. They were all invited to a public meeting only to be told at that meeting that there were not any real Libray work for them to do. Some of these residents have told me that’s the last time they will ever volunteer to help deliver public services in Ealing.

I’m sure all of us thought that the Libraries were ‘saved’ but this is clearly not the case.

Eric,

It is amazing. The Labour party, the council and the unions are literally conspiring together to ensure that cuts mean cuts. There is no solution that they will tolerate that will allow us to have our libraries open and save money. They insist on at least two “qualified” librarians being on duty if a library is to open. No talk of single handed operation like your laundrette or newsagent. No talk of using cheaper security guards to babysit a “qualified” librarian. No talk of using volunteers to run library sessions.

There is no reason why libraries can’t be open every day until late so that our young people, students and elderly have a warm, comfortable place to go and read newspapers, get online and do their studies. It is a rather nasty, unfunny joke.

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