Library closures – No reassurance given!
Opposition Councillors sought reassurance that there would be no Community Library closures at Monday’s Cabinet Meeting. The Corporate Revenue Monitoring Report revealed that the budget for Community Libraries currently had pressures of £507k as well as having to meet its savings (cuts) target of £600k.
Cllr Holbrook responded that there would be no Community Libraries closing this year. But the Library service was being considered, alongside other Council services, through the Future Council review. The Council is developing its financial plan for the next five years which involves making a further £ 250 million of cuts to council services in that period.
Cllr Holbrook pointedly offered no re-assurance that there would be no future Community Library closures under the 2020 Council proposals.
The Council will be consulting with the public on the 2020 Council in November, in a radical departure from the year-on-year budget setting. Sir Albert Bore has stated to the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel that it is likely that entire services run by the Council will be discontinued or handed over to partners.
Library users and supporters need to be on high alert this Autumn in case further cuts to the city-wide library services, including library closures, are in the pipeline.