Thursday, 2 August 2012

Council Leader re-writing history over library closure threat

Cornwall's Council Leader Alec Robertson is trying to re-write history by claiming to members that his administration never considered closing any libraries. He makes the claims in an email to all members in which he also tries to justify the privatisation of a range of front line services.

The key excerpt from Alec's email reads:
Despite the misleading comments made in one local newspaper this week, the Council has never considered closing any libraries in Cornwall.  
But this isn't actually true. In 2010 when the cabinet was considering their first emergency budget, an options paper was put before them with a whole range of potential savings. Some were given the provisional go ahead and others were rejected.

One of the options that was given the go ahead in a section titled
Cabinet recommendations on potential service cuts
was this:
Further to star chamber and in addition to the savings above. This more radical proposal would combine the OSS and Libraries and reduce the service to nine key locations of OSS/Libraries across Cornwall closing 20 libraries. Saving additional £75k of OSS budget and and additional saving of between £300k and £500k of libraries budget. Would expect some legal challenge around the 1964 Act, loss of face to face role for Cornwall Council and possible claw back of funds from lottery. Potential 60 posts made redundant.
I’m very glad that the Cabinet changed their mind and did not eventually recommend these cuts to full council. This may or may not have been something to do with the massive campaign run by Liberal Democrats across Cornwall which generated thousands of petition signatures in a few days. Who knows, it may even have been because the Conservatives saw sense.

But whatever the reason, Council Leader Alec Robertson cannot truthfully claim that the Council has never considered closing any libraries in Cornwall.

There is a proper debate to be had on the Conservative plan to hand a range of services over to a new private company with no democratic representation on the board. But lying isn’t the way to go about it.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Alex is lying much more than you suggest here. The proposal to reduce the service to just 9 libraries appeared in 2 sets of cabinet papers along with a radical "their words not mine" option to axe all bit three libraries.