Westminster Labour Group is deeply concerned and angered by proposals from Westminster Council that would see massive cuts to our vital library services.
The Conservative Council has produced plans that would cut £750,000 per year from the Westminster Libraries budget and at the heart of these cuts are plans to remove the equivalent of 17 ½ full-time members of staff. Overwhelmingly the roles that would be lost are the qualified librarians whose expertise and passion for reading help make Westminster’s libraries a hugely valued part of our community.
Westminster Labour believes the Council must think again about how to support our vital library services. It could instead look at innovative ways to raise revenue, for example through improved (international) digital access to the council’s treasure trove of rare books and maps in the City Archives. At present there do not seem to be plans to consult the public about the impact of this major change, something Westminster Labour believes should be a basic requirement before any decision is taken.
Westminster Labour Leader Adam Hug said:
“Despite Theresa May’s recent, clearly empty, rhetoric, Westminster’s Conservative Council is carrying on with deep cuts to vital services. Qualified librarians help make reading come alive for children and adults alike, making our libraries the beating heart of many of our communities.
In Westminster we’ve seen this story before many times, most notably in our children’s centres where skilled staff were steadily removed through ‘salami-slicing’ cuts and now they provide only a fraction of the vital services that they used to. Labour will fight to stop our libraries becoming empty shells and instead remain as a vital resource for our community.”