Friday, 15 January 2016

Tameside Libraries to close a further one day a week!

WE have received reports that bosses at Tameside Council, are planning to cut library hours for the six public libraries currently open in Tameside.  Under the proposals, all libraries will close for an extra one day a week and on one night of the week, will remain open while 8.00pm.  Staff working at the Ashton studies library and archive, have already had their hours reduced.  It is not intended to consult the public about these further cuts in library opening times.

Under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, local authorities are required to provide a 'comprehensive library and efficient' library service.  However, this is not defined in the Act and is therefore open to interpretation.  Whether Tameside Council are complying with the law is something that is open to challenge.  Likewise,  under equality legislation, local authorities are required to carry out impact assessments to establish how their proposals are likely to affect people living wthin the community.  Complaints can also be made to the Secretary of State who, for example, intervened when Sheffield proposed to close libraries.

Although Tameside Council are axing services and jobs and closing buildings, TMBC's annual Statement of Accounts for 2014-2015, shows that they have 'Usable Reserves' of nearly £205m, as of 31 March 2015.  These reserves can be 'applied to fund expenditure or reduce local taxation.'

In September 2012, Tameside Council closed five libraries and imposed cuts in opening hours on the rest.

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