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Library resources face £346K of cuts as Surrey Conservatives are forced to reveal the facts

March 2, 2017 10:26 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems
John Orrick

Cllr John Orrick

Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have expressed their anger as the Conservative County Council was forced to reveal cuts of £346K to library resources over the next two years.

The Conservative-administration plans to reduce the county's library resources budget, used to buy items such as books and DVDs, by £346K which amounts to a cut of 22% by 2019. The reduction in the resources budget for libraries follows significant cuts in the amount of library stock owned by the county council, which has dropped from 1,597,830 items in December 2013 to 1,386,752 items in March 2016 - a reduction of 211,078 items (13%).

The £346K cut was buried in the confidential section of council papers that were discussed at the Council's Cabinet this week but Liberal Democrat councillors objected to this excessive secrecy, and successfully argued for the information on the cuts to library resources to be placed in the public part of the council papers so that all councillors and residents had access to the facts.

Cllr John Orrick, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Libraries, said:

"Our libraries and their resources are not safe under this Conservative County Council. Less library stock means less choice for our residents, so these cuts will have a direct impact on library users and could mean fewer people visiting and using our libraries.

"The Conservative-administration has already admitted that our libraries have over 200,000 less stock items than three years ago and so it is clear that stock will continue to be cut under the Tories. Liberal Democrats had to force the County Council to reveal the cuts to the library resources budget which yet again proves the secretive nature of this Conservative-administration. Residents and councillors deserve to know the facts and to be kept informed of which services in Surrey the Tories are planning to cut and why".

Notes:

Cabinet papers containing the library resources budget can be found here (Item 12):

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/documents/s35887/item%2013%20-%20AMENDED%20SCC%20Cabinet%20Report%20Library%20Stock%20Part%201.pdf

Surrey County Council provided the following library stock figures:

March 2016 1,386,752
March 2015 1,450,618
Dec. 2013 1,597,830