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#739522 - 2nd Nov 2012 9:33am Wirral library closures?
Touchstone Offline


Registered: 25th Sep 2010
Posts: 899
Loc: Wallasey
Wirral’s libraries “under the microscope” as council prepares to make budget cuts

THE future of Wirral’s libraries will come under the microscope as the authority braces itself to make some of the most savage budget cuts in its History.

The council’s leader, Phil Davies, also said some services could end up outside direct council control as the authority seeks “imaginative and innovative” ways to make savings.

As part of this, Wirral Council has just completed the first stage of a massive consultation exercise to find out what council services residents most value.

The authority faces cutting £39m from its budget next year.

Almost 7,000 people took part in the six-week consultation – described as one of the biggest of its kind in the country and featuring 150 events.

It found that people agreed the top priorities should be protecting vulnerable adults and children, tackling poverty and inequalities in health, and creating jobs and attracting investment.

Those who responded also most valued reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, the local environment, education and care for the elderly and that the council should look at raising or introducing charges for services and use that income to protect other services.

However, the consultation also found among the lowest priorities were providing access to affordable housing, encouraging people to stay healthy, facilities for young people – and leisure and cultural services.

The report said: “Non-universal, optional services such as libraries and leisure centres and under-utilised One Stop Shops were mentioned frequently, as being appropriate services to reduce.”

Cllr Davies said he had been surprised by this as the council faced widespread criticism over plans to shut 11 libraries in 2008/9 leading to an embarrassing U-turn. But he said: “We are at a watershed in local government.

“On current trends, if government cuts continue, we will literally only have enough money for adult social services and emptying bins. Every council is facing this dilemma – how do you keep the show on the road?

“We need to be more imaginative and innovative.

“I’m not going to speculate on what cuts we make, but libraries and other services under the ‘discretionary spend heading’ will come under the microscope.”

Options could include services being outsourced, community groups or volunteers taking over some, or even ones like leisure centres being put into trusts.

Cllr Davies said: “We have to make sure we make savings but also try and retain good quality frontline services.”

Source: [url=Liverpool Echo][/url]

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#739584 - 2nd Nov 2012 2:48pm Re: Wirral library closures? [Re: Touchstone]
philmch Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 27th Dec 2007
Posts: 325
Loc: Wirral
Interesting isn't it. I can think of “imaginative and innovative” ways for WBC to save money. For a start it can stop sponsoring Tranmere Rovers.

It's been estimated that WBC will give £1.3m to TRFC over 10 years but the exact figure is not being revealed.

Why ? Council Tax is paid to provide local services. TRFC is not a local service, it's a PLC in the entertainment business with Peter Johnson being the majority shareholder.

To add insult to injury, TRFC is now selling off a war memorial for "development". That's the lives of Wilfred Owen and his fallen comrades to financially prop-up further what is already being paid for by US.

#739592 - 2nd Nov 2012 3:17pm Re: Wirral library closures? [Re: philmch]
chriskay Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 25th Oct 2007
Posts: 4868
Loc: shropshire
Oh, how I agree with you philmch. If I still lived locally I'd be up in arms. (I thought the idea of building on the ex- Institute playing fields had been thrown out).
Carpe diem.

#739618 - 2nd Nov 2012 4:48pm Re: Wirral library closures? [Re: Touchstone]
rover644 Offline

Registered: 2nd Feb 2011
Posts: 163
Loc: Tranmere
TRFC do a lot of work in the community, They have won many awards for such work. They also carry the Wirral logo around the country (live on tv this Sunday). The sponsorship deal is also much more complicated than wbc simply giving them 1.3m over the next ten years. I would say its more of a partnership than a sponsorship. If we are looking for ways to implement the latest round of Tory led budget cuts i can think of much better ways than ending a partnership with something that does so much for the area.


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