Government scraps promised library measures
17.06.10 | Benedicte Page

The new culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has decided not to implement £2m (per annum) of library spending commitments set out in his predecessor Margaret Hodge’s Public Library Modernisation Review policy statement in March.

Hunt is scrapping the measures as part of a £73m saving being made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of its contribution to reducing the fiscal deficit, the DCMS announced today.

Free internet access in all libraries and the promotion of library membership as an entitlement from birth have been abandoned. Meanwhile the extension of the Public Lending Right to non-print format books (estimated at £300,000) has been suspended and is to be considered instead at the
spending review in the autumn.

Other measures scrapped today include funding for free swimming for those aged under 16 and over 60, and the planned Stonehenge Visitor Centre and British Film Institute film centre.

Hunt said: “We are facing an unprecedented financial situation in this country and it is essential that we act now to reduce the country’s debt. As part of my department’s contribution, we have examined a number of schemes to determine whether they remain a government priority, value for money, and affordable in the current economic climate.

“This has involved some incredibly difficult decisions, but the cultural and sporting world, like
everyone else, urgently need the country’s finances to be returned to a sustainable position.”

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