40p monthly tax to keep your library

Malvern Gazette: 40p monthly tax to keep your library 40p monthly tax to keep your library

PEOPLE will be asked to dig into their own pockets to ensure their public library remains open.

Concerned councillors in Upton have come up with a plan for every household in the town and surrounding areas to pay a monthly council tax supplement to keep it going.

They say they have been told by Worcestershire County Council the library needs to find annual savings of £25,000.

Mayor Peter Webb fears the library could close as soon as April if the town does not take urgent action.

Every household in Upton and six surrounding parishes will be asked to pay a monthly supplement of 40p – or £4.80 a year – for the next five years to guarantee the library’s survival over that period. This would raise about £15,000 a year, with councillors confident the additional £10,000 savings required can be achieved by using more volunteers.

Councillor Simon Yates said he felt councillors had been “kept in the dark”

over the extent of the threat to the library.

“Some of us said a yearand- a-half ago we needed to go to the public but that never happened and now we have to do it in three weeks,” he said.

“To get them involved at this late stage might be tricky but I think it is doable and is a very good option to find another way to pay for the library.”

But Coun Webb said there had been reassurances over the future of the library and the extent of the threat had been revealed recently.

“We have still not been told in clear terms what will happen to the library if we do nothing,” he said.

Kathy Kirk, strategic libraries and learning manager at the county council, said: “We are trying to avoid closing libraries and are working with town and parish councils across the county.

“In Upton, we are working with the town council to explore options.”

Other parishes being asked to consider the plan are Hanley Castle, Hill Croome, Ripple, Earls Croome, Severn Stoke and Croome D’Abitot and Longdon, Holdfast and Queenhill.

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