Wirral libraries 'safe' despite 50 staff redundancies

Protests followed plans to close libraries in 2008

Protests followed plans to close libraries in 2008

First published in News by , Geoff Barnes

Wirral's culture chief Cllr David Elderton has pledged the authority is committed to maintaining and improving library services despite the loss of 50 staff due to budget buts.

Libraries across the borough are affected by the staff losses with Birkenhead (12), Wallasey (six) and Bebington, Bromborough and Heswall (four each) being the worst hit.

They are part of the 1,100 staff who have already had applications for early retirement or severance approved. Last week a further 210 were offered the chance to leave.

Three years ago the Labour adminstration was forced, in the face of as public outcry, to drop plans to close a dozen libraries and replace them with fewer but more modern facilities.

Now Labour leader Cllr Steve Foulkes has rounded on the controlling Tory/Lib Dem coalition claiming: "Today we are in exactly the position we predicted would happen if the scheme did not go ahead.

"Three years ago we set out to invest over £20m in creating a modern library and information system, fully equipped for the future, which would withstand all the threats of economic recession and reduced government funding. "This was violently opposed by the Tories who whipped up a storm of local and national protest.

"Thirteen hundred jobs are being purged from Wirral Council and, as part of that purge, over 50 library staff are going, not to be replaced, taking all their knowledge and expertise with them."

Cllr Elderton, council cabinet member for culture, said: "We are absolutely committed to maintaining Wirral's library service and have actually invested almost £1m for extra equipment, books and building improvements "There are currently 167 full-time equivalents working across our library service.

"Thirty four of these are due to leave the council under voluntary terms.

"However many will be replaced by existing staff and this will not prevent us from maintaining and improving these valued facilities.

"We are actually developing plans to expand the number of services offered through our libraries. Wirral residents have told us how important their local library is to them and we have listened."

Cllr Foulkes hit back: "There is no money available for investment.

"Libraries are still housed in old and sometimes inadequate buildings with out-of-date technology unable to compete in the modern world.

"Local government funding has been dramatically slashed."

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:19pm Fri 11 Feb 11

spenser says...

"Libraries are still housed in old and sometimes inadequate buildings with out-of-date technology unable to compete in the modern world.



One of the excuses used for closure of the council run old peoples homes is that they are allegedly not fit for use. Yet the same criteria don't seem to be used here?
"Libraries are still housed in old and sometimes inadequate buildings with out-of-date technology unable to compete in the modern world. One of the excuses used for closure of the council run old peoples homes is that they are allegedly not fit for use. Yet the same criteria don't seem to be used here? spenser
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Fri 11 Feb 11

minimad69 says...

BTW - it was 2009 that Labour tried to close 10 libraries.
I am no tory - but don't let that idiot Foulkes think he's now right - trotting out the same argument that got him censured by Central Govt.
Libraries are a resource Mr Foulkes does not use - so his views are not only jaundiced but also mpstly irrelevant.
He seems to forget the fiasco he made of this issue is one of the reasons that the Tories are in now - HE WAS WRONG and renmains so, on the basis of this article.
Time to get a new thinking cap without a large 'D' on mr F.
BTW - it was 2009 that Labour tried to close 10 libraries. I am no tory - but don't let that idiot Foulkes think he's now right - trotting out the same argument that got him censured by Central Govt. Libraries are a resource Mr Foulkes does not use - so his views are not only jaundiced but also mpstly irrelevant. He seems to forget the fiasco he made of this issue is one of the reasons that the Tories are in now - HE WAS WRONG and renmains so, on the basis of this article. Time to get a new thinking cap without a large 'D' on mr F. minimad69
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Fri 11 Feb 11

hugo2008 says...

Years of blatant mis management in maintence terms does mean that some libraries are in a poor shape, but that can be rectified.
Libraries today should include service organisations like CAB, Post Office, maybe even a cafe or two, but never closed, they act as main community locations despite what the Councillors will tell you.
Steve Foulkes, is well known for talking a load of horlicks both in and out of office, the quicker he is out alltogether the better.
What has not been slashed is the exorbident number of so called councillors plus the punative costs of 66 less than useless individuals who instead of listening to the population, only follow the political diktats from Whitehall.
What we urgently need is about twenty dedicated representative who have the livleyhood, ammenitys, and facilities of the electorat at heart, first, second, third, and last.
Lets push for a fundamental change in the system and save ourselves millions of pounds each and every year.
Years of blatant mis management in maintence terms does mean that some libraries are in a poor shape, but that can be rectified. Libraries today should include service organisations like CAB, Post Office, maybe even a cafe or two, but never closed, they act as main community locations despite what the Councillors will tell you. Steve Foulkes, is well known for talking a load of horlicks both in and out of office, the quicker he is out alltogether the better. What has not been slashed is the exorbident number of so called councillors plus the punative costs of 66 less than useless individuals who instead of listening to the population, only follow the political diktats from Whitehall. What we urgently need is about twenty dedicated representative who have the livleyhood, ammenitys, and facilities of the electorat at heart, first, second, third, and last. Lets push for a fundamental change in the system and save ourselves millions of pounds each and every year. hugo2008
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Fri 11 Feb 11

Fluffball72 says...

While I agree that Foulkes is in no position to preach to anyone on libraries, I have to say that I think what the Conservatives are doing is far more insidious than what he was proposing - at least he admitted in public what he was doing. By reducing the staffing so much the Conservatives are actually reducing the library service by stealth - too cowardly to be upfront because they are scared of the public's reaction - especially to the fact that they are so 2 faced having so vehemently opposed reducing library services last year. Fine to the other contributors please do criticise Foulkes for having the gall to comment on this, but lets give the Conservatives the contempt they deserve as well.
While I agree that Foulkes is in no position to preach to anyone on libraries, I have to say that I think what the Conservatives are doing is far more insidious than what he was proposing - at least he admitted in public what he was doing. By reducing the staffing so much the Conservatives are actually reducing the library service by stealth - too cowardly to be upfront because they are scared of the public's reaction - especially to the fact that they are so 2 faced having so vehemently opposed reducing library services last year. Fine to the other contributors please do criticise Foulkes for having the gall to comment on this, but lets give the Conservatives the contempt they deserve as well. Fluffball72
  • Score: 0

6:53am Sat 12 Feb 11

Toryman says...

Just close them and take the burden away from the taxpayer. If people want libraries, then let them open them and pay for the cost themselves...that's what the big-society is about. The only reason why it will not work is because people aren't trying hard enough.
Just close them and take the burden away from the taxpayer. If people want libraries, then let them open them and pay for the cost themselves...that's what the big-society is about. The only reason why it will not work is because people aren't trying hard enough. Toryman
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree