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Council refuses to back down on library ‘privatisation’ after Bexley scraps outsourcing plan

PUBLISHED: 13:29 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:29 04 October 2016

Cllr Peter Morgan

Cllr Peter Morgan

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Trade union Unite has called on the council to drop its plans

Bromley Council has pledged to continue with plans to ‘privatise’ its libraries after Bexley Council announced its withdrawal from a joint outsourcing project.

Proposals to outsource the borough’s libraries were originally revealed last October, but Bexley has now decided to continue running the library service in-house following the receipt of tenders.

The news came shortly after trade Union Unite claimed it had seen a letter from a councillor stating that Bromley Community Link, the preferred bidder for the volunteer library contract, had decided to withdraw from the tendering process.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is another blow to Bromley council’s plans to sell-off the borough’s treasured libraries. Surely it’s time for the council to drop its misconceived privatisation.”

But the council says it will continue to press ahead with the tendering process and sought to reassure residents that there would be no sell-off of assets.

Executive councillor for renewal and recreation Peter Morgan said: “The council’s plans have not changed and the tendering process is continuing, with proposals being evaluated and when we can say more, we will.

“It is important to note that there is no sale being proposed here at all. This whole process is ultimately about protecting our library service and this means looking carefully at all the options.

“The economies of scale and efficiencies that a potential tenderer could provide could bring forwards savings which will allow us to maintain the current library service. Apart from the multi-million-pound investment in libraries in recent years, there is still the potential to bring forwards library upgrades and potential savings by developing existing sites and this is exciting but is still at an early stage.”

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