Libraries in BCP area 'asked to stop buying books for few weeks' over budget issues
Libraries across the BCP area were asked to stop buying new books for a few weeks while the council attempted to balance their budget and deal with financial issues.
The pause on purchasing came as part of a number of measures which were put on hold after a plan to sell-off BCP Council's beach huts was torpedoed by the government in a highly-critical intervention earlier this year.
The local authority was forced to ask the government for £76million over three years, including £20million in the current year.
While the £20million was agreed, no decisions have yet been made over funding for 2023/24 and 2024/25.
And a halt was put on new financial commitments until the local authority could deliver a balanced budget for next year.
Council leaders are now looking to sell “non-strategic assets” by the end of March, with the borrowing seen as a back up option.
It has been labelled a 'fire-sale' by their political opponents.
The local authority claims they now have a predicted surplus of £9million at the end of 2022/23.
Councillor Drew Mellor, leader of BCP Council said: “During this extremely challenging economic time for everyone we’ve been working hard to make sure we are in control of this year’s spending and not forced to make drastic financial choices.
"For a few weeks we did ask libraries to pause buying new books, but it’s measures such as these that mean we avoid worse outcomes in the future.
“We’re now getting back towards business as usual. Service areas will start to see the brakes being eased and discussions have begun so that we can get new stock into the libraries for all those residents making resolutions to read more in 2023.
“In the meantime there is a vast array of books within BCP libraries, and any resident can also reserve and borrow from the libraries West joint catalogue of around 2.5 million items. Membership can also be used to access a range of e resources including e books, e audio books and e magazines.”