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Protest against Bromley library privatisation fears to be held outside civic centre next week

PUBLISHED: 17:17 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:17 12 July 2017

Bromley Civic Centre

Bromley Civic Centre

Archant

The demonstration will be held ahead of a meeting of the council’s executive that evening

Union protesters are set to gather outside Bromley Civic Centre next week over “the proposed privatisation of Bromley’s 14 libraries”.

The council’s executive will meet on Wednesday, July 19 to consider a report proposing Greenwich Leisure Limited takes over frontline and operational services of all Bromley libraries, including back office and support functions, the borough’s historic collections and managing each facility.

But before the 7pm meeting will get underway, protesters will be making their voices heard outside the building from 6pm.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Despite overwhelming public opposition, the council in its blinkered and secretive way is promoting the privatisation option without Bromley residents knowing the full financial facts and the future business plan.

“This is no way to run a democratic council, especially one that that has £300million in reserves and could well-afford to keep the library service under local authority control.

“GLL has a tarnished reputation when it comes to running libraries in the London boroughs of Greenwich and Lambeth. It closed the mobile library service in Greenwich, despite the fact that this service issued 33,000 books annually to children and in Lambeth there was controversy over plans to use library space for gym provision.

Councillor Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation said, “This proposal will generate a saving and preserve our much valued library service, with the council remaining in control.

“The council is yet to make a final decision about this but I cannot emphasise enough that the proposal is that any appointed contractor would provide the existing library service in all 14 libraries, with no library closures, which has not been the case in other boroughs.

“This whole exercise is ironically about protecting the library service set against the very difficult financial environment that all councils are having to operate in.

“The savings which GLL will make are essentially to do with economies of scale, arising from the fact that GLL will be running many more libraries than Bromley alone.

“If this proposal is accepted, the council would remain in control of the library service and the service provider would follow the specifications that have been outlined by the council.”

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