Brent Council claim library closure delays costs them �400,000

Town hall bosses announce crusade to save six branches will mean alternative cuts

Brent Council has failed to make �400,000 of savings because of delays in closing half of its libraries which will result in cuts to other services.

The Environment and Neighbourhood Services department still needs to make �250,000 in savings before the end of the financial year.

This, plus �170,000 the council spent of defending its decision to axe six of its 12 libraries, means it has had to find alternative cuts in other areas to balance its budget.

Services including pest control, animal welfare, waste, parks and transport will be hit.

The revelation will be reported at the council’s Executive meeting at Brent Town Hall on January 16.

Margaret Bailey, member of Brent SOS Library Campaign, said: “We regret that the council chose a most uncooperative and unimaginative path with regards to the six libraries it decided to close.

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“It would have harnessed the energy and goodwill of communities so that together we could have collaborated on a solution. The council has not only squandered that goodwill and energy but have chosen to pursue their unwanted Libraries Transformation Project with a vengeance and disregard of the damage to communities.

“The council could have made savings of �400,000 by diverting ward working monies and still have change. What has been done with money returned by Icelandic Banks?

“The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which is also responsible for libraries, has thrown another �46 million at the Olympics. Perhaps instead of managing the cuts, Brent could have asked it to find money to save threatened library services.”

The budgets for the next financial year are now being discussed and decisions will be made in February.

Despite having to make more cuts, the council says its libraries project will deliver savings in excess of �800,000 each year from April 2012.

A council spokesman said: “Delays in the implementation of the Libraries Transformation Programme brought about by the legal challenges have resulted in planned savings of more than �400,000 not being achieved.

“As a result, the council has had to find alternative savings in other areas in order to balance its budget.

“These savings include in-year reductions in pest control, animal welfare, waste, parks and transport.”