Keep Our Libraries Public

love library booksLibrary services are an important part of our community: promoting learning; bringing people together; providing a space for community groups etc. But, did you know that in York the library service is facing a £250,000 cut (10% of the total budget) in 2013/14? The library services in York are already squeezed, not having seen a rise in funding for over a decade.

Still, no library closures have been announced (yet). As a new tactic to help save costs, the council has decided to turn the central York Explore library into a Social Enterprise, and they have started advertising for volunteers. Now, we think volunteering is a very positive thing, but should volunteers be replacing salaried professional staff? And should a Social Enterprise be running a service which should be under the control of the council? No, is the short answer. This is nothing more than Cameron’s ‘big society’ (read: ‘under funded services led by volunteers’).

York Unison, York TUC, York Student Socialists and York Stop the Cuts are all opposing the council’s plans. We kicked off our campaign with an excellent protest outside York Library, where we collected over 900 signatures (read about it on York TUC blog).

Our petition to the council is online, sign it here.

We think the Labour council can do more to oppose the cuts. For example, they are not putting real effort into collecting and allocating council tax funds from empty homes in York. Speaking in response to Osborne’s autumn statement, deputy leader Councillor Simpson-Laing said: “The £600,000 to £700,000 extra on top of the cuts we were already expecting to make in the year 2014-15 is going to be devastating.” And James Alexander on twitter has said: “I can assure you people in York do not like cuts”. By joining the newly created Councillors Against Cuts network, our councillors can show they are serious about fighting this ConDem government. If we don’t form a substantial opposition in councils, trade unions, schools, colleges and on the street, this government and the next will only continue to get away with pleasing their rich palls.


3 thoughts on “Keep Our Libraries Public

  1. In addition to this current blackmailing of the Voluntary Sector, whilst at the same time cutting off their financial support, I believe we need to bring in legislation to control the ever increasing rents and associated charges in the private rental industry. The current growth in investors in this area is responsible for the return of Rachmanism

    1. Have you come across York’s Housing Crisis campaign? It’s just got (re)started, and we will be hearing more from them soon, we’ll make sure to post here to keep everyone in the loop. This is their facebook page:
      (just in case we don’t manage to post an article, please consider joining our email list if you haven’t already, we’ve been a bit slack at sending out emails recently, but we promise to get back into the habit of sending out our weekly newsletter)

      1. Yes I have and have been in touch with them on this, Also with Hugh Bayley and my idea is now L/P POLICY. I am also in regular contact with the Press [much to the disgust of Mr Laverack !!] However despite tenant’s costs in York being second only to London, there is not a lot of local support, which makes me wonder just how many people have their fingers in this particular lucrative pie? Who knows this bit of Tory policy may upset their own supporters by forcing them to bring down rents to more affordable levels—One can but hope !!

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