Council ‘wasted £70,000 in legal fees it could have spent on books’

Another example of Brent Council wasting our money – read the article in   here.

Campaigners have almost reached the target £30,000 to fund the legal action against the closure of 50% of Brent’s libraries. It would cost just £1m to keep them all open, and a reduction of hours across the board would achieve the same savings (according to the council’s own figures) – yet the Council ignored massive opposition from residents and ploughed ahead with the cuts.

First they claimed it was financially necessary, but under fire for spending a whopping £3m on a new mega-library as part of a £100 million Civic Centre project (at a time of deep recession), they switched to arguing that the cuts would improve  library services! Nobody seems sure how losing local libraries in communities that clearly value them is an improvement.  These are libraries that are far from under-performing: Preston Library is one of the most efficient and highest usage library in the borough.

Besides the £100million Civic Centre, Brent Council spends £2.5 million on salaries for just 19 officers and has just written off £17.3 million in uncollected debt. It certainly has no dificulty spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers money when it feels the need, but struggles to find a mere £400,000 a year to keep vital public services going. Libraries and services are not a gift from the council, a favour to be withdrawn at will, but what we employ the council to provide.

Samantha (below) also spoke to LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari this morning too. Sadly I can’t provide a recording, but it seems we are getting more and more support across London.