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Lewisham Library Closures
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BarCar


Posts: 292
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #1
05-07-2010 09:15 AM

Here come the cuts... http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/2010...books.html

Lewisham will be consulting on closures of 5 out of 12 of it's libraries: Sydenham, Blackheath, Crofton Park, Grove Park and New Cross to save £80k

More details on this and other proposed cuts across Lewisham at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/...30710.PDF.

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michael


Posts: 3,199
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
05-07-2010 09:44 AM

May I point out that the saving is not £80k but £830k. Less than the amount spent refurbishing Forest Hill library, but still a substantial amount for a council trying to cut £60m from spending.

Discussion also on the Sydenham forum.

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ForestHillier


Posts: 490
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #3
05-07-2010 10:34 AM

Appears that we have overspent by so much over the last 13 years that we will need to close so many things and have drastic cuts everywhere

We all should know the score, if you want good services, then you have to pay for them, so who wants a massive increase in Council tax to pay for all these services, now i,m not saying that we have to cut all - as there are many that are needed, looking after the infirm, old etc

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BarCar


Posts: 292
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #4
05-07-2010 11:30 AM

I, for one, would welcome a discussion about services and taxation levels.

At the last election I don't recall us being offered a (realistic) choice to maintain services (or reduce cuts) by paying higher Council Tax.

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ForestHillier


Posts: 490
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #5
05-07-2010 11:33 AM

Hi BarCar

No neither do I - maybe my post was not that cleary written, what I meant was would we be happy to pay more if it meant some services, i.e libraries etc reamaing

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BarCar


Posts: 292
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #6
05-07-2010 11:37 AM

Agreed. Just doesn't seem to be an option we're being offered.

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ForestHillier


Posts: 490
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #7
05-07-2010 01:10 PM

True BarCar - yet maybe the coalition thought better of it, ca you imagine the outcry if they sai that the council tax was to rise by 40% to help claw back all the money that has been wasted, there would be a revolution

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #8
05-07-2010 04:22 PM

Lewisham council cash Inflows 2008/09 (£000):
Council Tax income (93,231)
Government grants (501,826)
NNDR received from ratepayers and national pool (203,475)
Rent received from council housing (42,990)
Cash received for goods and services (37,100)
Other operating cash receipts (4,867)


So of a total of £883m cash spent, £705m comes from the government.

If the government slash their contribution by £60m, to keep services as they are, council tax would need to rise by 2/3.

Anyone fancy that?

A million can be grabbed here and there but the bulk of the budget goes on housing services and children/education services. And that is where the bulk of the cuts will need to be made.

What a lovely progressive government!

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Yasmine


Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2010
Post: #9
05-07-2010 04:42 PM

May I remind you that in Lewisham we pay the highest council tax of any other neighbouring boroughs. Unfortunately we did not always get the best value from our council....now at least they will have an excuse not to perform. Blame it on the cuts.

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BarCar


Posts: 292
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #10
05-07-2010 05:00 PM

For Band D, Lewisham is 18th out of the 33 London Boroughs. Just below the median.

http://www.whatkatydid.org/2010/03/compa...tax-rates/

Greenwich and Bromley are only little lower and Southwark slightly lower again.

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michael


Posts: 3,199
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
05-07-2010 05:31 PM

I believe that the claim is that Lewisham has the highest council tax in inner London (which greater funding from the government than outer London boroughs), but there isn't a lot in it. And it should be said that, while not perfect, generally services in Lewisham are better than many other Inner London boroughs.

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Yasmine


Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2010
Post: #12
05-07-2010 09:09 PM

I believe that Southwark and Bromley manage and offer better services than Lewisham. This is particularlty true for Forest Hill, which is always trailing behind in the council' s priority list - please do not mention the Forest Hill Pools; it is still a very controversial matter and had it not been for the residents' groups, it would have ended up looking like a shack somewhere in a back road almost in Sydenham whilst the original plot of land would have been sold to a developer; yet Mr Bullock still has the guts to claim he has fought for us all....

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rbmartin


Posts: 795
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #13
05-07-2010 11:34 PM

I work for another Inner London borough's library service.

While we're going to have have our fair share of cuts, there are no plans to close any libraries. (Infact we're re-opening two refurbished branches this summer with new jobs) Some of the savings we have implemented are by having self-service machines for discharging and returning books. We also get the customer to pre-book computer time. However, we're still able to provide the customer with help if required, including doing the standard tasks you'd expect from a library.

If you really want your local library to stay, especially Sydenham, which is in a deprived area, then use it! The more books you borrow, the DVD's you rent out or the hour you use on the PC's show that it's an essential resource.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #14
06-07-2010 12:49 PM

I must admit that we as a family have mostly stopped using FH library.

1. It has no books
2. When you order books, the library is closed when you go to collect
3. That's always assuming that the notification that the books have arrived gets to you. Another order got sent back because we never collected, because we never knew.

I've taken to using Lambeth libraries, as I work in Brixton and they have a efficient online ordering system and they phone you (rather than write) when the books are ready to collect.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #15
06-07-2010 01:31 PM

I, like many people, I suspect, have a nostalgic fondness for libraries. As a child I went to the library at least once a week. There were always plenty of books to satisfy my voracious reading habit. But as an adult, I never use the library. I tried to patronise both FH and Sydenham library with my kids, but they always struggled to find the books they wanted and there's no one there with the knowledge to direct them to alternatives. When I walk into FH library, my first thought is: where are the books?

Maybe the logical thing is to push ahead with the trend to make local libraries into community resource centres. Then move all the books to a central location where many more could be stocked, and have a really quick and efficient system for ordering and picking up your books locally.

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rbmartin


Posts: 795
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #16
06-07-2010 03:21 PM

I don't know how Lewisham libraries operate, but it seems to be a stock issue due to lack of money for certain subjects.

Our borough buys new-ish books when we're allowed to stock them and most branches have a copy and if not, the reservation system is normally good enough to get a copy within a week if you use a smaller branch.

You don't have to use Lewisham. You can join any borough's library, including Croydon, Lambeth, Greenwich and Southwark.

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gingernuts


Posts: 505
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #17
06-07-2010 04:44 PM

Does anyone know how much the Lewisham Mayor's office costs the borough? I suspect that would be an obvious saving that could be made. Then take a list of all the top earning public servants in Lewisham and see if their jobs are really necesary and where departments could merge. This should be done before front line services are impacted. This should also be done without the use of expensive consultants.

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #18
06-07-2010 07:21 PM

That info should be clearly listed in the Council accounts, if only I knew where to find them. Also need to factor in the cost of Mayoral elections both when independently run and when they concur with other elections.
I really don't mind Steve as Mayor but don't honestly understand why this particular office is needed. I am sure there is a value for money statement somewhere on this point and also the cost benefit analysis of having a cabinet style system as opposed to the alternatives.

Oh, and Deputy Mayor also please. Most Mayors are ceremonial but we should not be looking to replace the cabinet style mayor with one of those either.

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gingernuts


Posts: 505
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #19
06-07-2010 07:37 PM

From the New Shopper

It's got to be more than £1m per term in office. What is it the mayor does that the councillors can't do?

Interesting, the Mayor has just appointed two new cabinet members - each claiming an extra £15,298 a year.
The article says...
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock’s nominations for his new cabinet, which will increase in size from seven to nine people, the maximum allowed, will be confirmed at the AGM on May 26.

Among them are Councillors Joan Millbank and Damien Egan who take on the new roles of member for the Third Sector and member for Strategy and Communications respectively.

Cabinet members get an allowance of £15,298 on top of their £9,812 basic rate

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roz


Posts: 1,790
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #20
06-07-2010 09:25 PM

Sorry, but thats where the cuts need to be made . Its ridiculous at this time to start boosting the cabinet numbers and associated expenses at the expense of council jobs and services. Its not on that many of these people earn £26k- more than many people in full time work- on top of their annual salaries.

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