‘Rough ride’ predicted for libraries after spending cuts
24.05.10 | Benedicte Page
Libraries face a “rough old ride” following today’s announcement that the local government budget will be cut by £1.165bn this year. The cut comes as part of the £6.25bn savings announced by chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne this morning (24th May).
The “formula grant”, the main government grant to local authorities, will not be cut from its current £29bn this year. However, Guy Daines, policy director at CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), said he still expected a raft of announcements about library service cuts this year, as local authority budgets will suffer overall.
“All authorities will have been planning for pretty appalling scenarios coming in the next few years,” he said. “Hampshire [which announced a library service restructure with the loss of 65 posts earlier this month] is probably one of the first.
“Today’s announcement will confirm to virtually every local authority up and down the country that the cuts will happen and the plans they are making they will probably have to implement. Most will be ready to make some quite severe reductions. It’s going to be a rough old ride.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to face a £88m (3%) cut in this year’s budget, with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), Public Lending Right (PLR) and Arts Council all taking a 3% funding cut this year.
A DCMS spokesperson told The Bookseller the 3% cut was “across the board for the whole family of our non-departmental public bodies,” and warned it was a prelude to “significant reductions” in budgets to be outlined this autumn when the chancellor announces spending for the next three years. “This is relatively small compared to what is coming in the autumn,” the spokesperson