Matt Hirst, Huddersfield Socialist Party
For the third year running, Kirklees council is looking to make cuts to its library services. A further £1.9 million is to be cut from the library services budget for 2018-19.
With many outlying libraries already staffed and run by volunteers, people are scratching their heads at how much more library services can be cut.
In Milnsbridge where I live, we used to have a library, and there still is a library building, with artwork on the outside promoting reading – however no books are to be found inside.
The next closest library to me, in Golcar, is fully run by volunteers, giving their spare time and knowledge to run the library, as they understand the importance and need for a library in outlying villages.
They don’t just provide books and education for the people, but a place to hold groups for the community come together.
Huddersfield is a Labour-run council so the torrent of cuts on this particular service is hard to stomach.
The council has opened an online-only consultation and is giving the following choices on the type of body the library service would be going forward:
1. Remaining as a service within the council
2. The library service is set up as a company, but remains owned by the council
3. The library services leave the councils ownership and is set up as a trust, with potential employee ownership
4. Outsourced – owned by an external company, and they retain the profits
5. Joint Venture – external investment into the library services, with the external companies retaining ownership and or control of the services
Huddersfield Socialist Party is imploring all Kirklees residents to voice their opinion through this consultation, and demand that the council refuses to continue to implement cuts set by budgets from central government and instead set a needs budget.
The council can also make use of its reserves and prudent borrowing powers to fund the services that its residents need.
- The consultation is open until 2 April at kirklees.gov.uk/beta/libraries/library-consultation.aspx