£1.6m to be cut from libraries?

Cleckheaton Library. (D541B430)
Cleckheaton Library. (D541B430)

Concern is mounting over Kirklees Council’s plan to slash more than £1.6m in funding from the district’s libraries.

The service faces a cut from £3.9m to £2.238m in the council’s 2018/19 budget proposals.

A full council meeting will take place on Tuesday, when the scheme could be approved.

It has not yet been revealed how a funding reduction would specifically affect individual sites.

But after £1.8m was chopped in a previous round of cuts to this service, 16 libraries became volunteer-led and eight suffered reduced hours.

Chairwoman of the Friends of Cleckheaton Library, Kay Quantrill, said: “I am deeply concerned that the library service, which is only just recovering from the last significant cut to budget, is again taking a disproportionate hit.”

She added: “We have recently, in North Kirklees, lost two museums, and it is a very real fear that if this budget is approved, we will lose libraries as well.

Chairman of the Friends of Heckmondwike Library, Chris Martin, said the libraries are still “struggling and regrouping” from previous cuts.

“For staff in these places everyone starts looking over their shoulder and it is upsetting.”

A council spokeswoman said it continued financial pressures because of reducing income from central government.

“All services have been asked to identify further savings and the library service is not exempt from this requirement.”

She added that if the budget is agreed then councillors will work with library management teams and a public consultation would take place in spring.