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Actually there are many more than just 10 things wrong with Lambeth Council's proposals to close 2 libraries and cease funding another 3 (including the Carnegie) http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/culture2020-consultation/. The following are just some of the more obvious issues:
1. The aims talk about "affordable" facilities for well-being and culture - perhaps they mean "affordable" in the sense of "affordable housing" - at 80% of the market cost, this is hardly affordable by the people who have the greatest need. Whatever happened to free public services and libraries? Free public libraries have been recognised as a great social benefit for 150 years.
2. They will create a £10m endowment fund from the sales of the Minet and Waterloo libraries, to "promote literacy and the love of reading". This fund is supposed to replace the library budget for the 3 libraries (including the Carnegie) whose council funding will be stopped in 2016. But nowhere is it stated that the fund will actually be ringfenced for these libraries. Instead it will "support charities, social enterprises and community groups in Lambeth".
3. The council's own Library Commission report (included in the Culture2020 documents) emphasised that library funding should be transparent, and that each library should receive an explicit allocation of funding. Instead, libraries will need to bid against each other for variable amounts from the endowment fund.
4. The library commission further stated that Lambeth should commit to provide an additional contribution to enable communities to take on management of libraries - and this has happened with park groups such as SCCOOP - but no such transitional budget is provided for the libraries in Culture2020.
5. Vast amounts of consultation documentation is provided for people to read through - over 20 detailed documents. This excludes many people from participation in the consultation.
6. The Lambeth libraries commission reported that 80% of people were opposed to any library closures. Yet Culture2020 is proposing to close 2 libraries and leave 3 others to 'sink or swim' without effective support, so leading to the prospect of these also being closed.
7. The commission recommended that the library service should remain professionally-led, and that volunteer-run libraries were not a workable model. "We believe in a professionally-led library service" (Cllr Sally Prentice). Culture2020 is implying increased use of volunteers, and is abandoning Carnegie, Durning and Upper Norwood libraries for volunteers to run.
8. The commission emphasised that Ward Councillors should have a key role in reconciling different community views. But the 3 Herne Hill ward councillors have not yet engaged with the (politically independent) Friends of Carnegie library, and instead one councillor has joined the board of the rival STB (led by ex-councillors all from the same political party).
9. The commission recommended that any capital receipts from the sale of libraries are reinvested in improving the remaining buildings and library service. Instead, no capital investment is identified in the Culture2020 proposals.
10. The Libraries and Museums Act 1964 requires councils to maintain a 'comprehensive and efficient' library service. But the closures and withdrawals of library services will leave large areas of Lambeth without any library service, requiring Herne Hill or Vassall residents to travel to Brixton to access a Lambeth library. In the Friends of Carnegie survey of 2800 local households, 40% of respondants said they would stop using libraries altogether if the Carnegie closed.
Please respond to the consultation to oppose the library proposals, and sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/london-borough-of-lambeth-save-lambeth-libraries
Over 15 years to save to buy a first home in Lambeth and Southwark; We have to solve London’s housing crisis – Tessa Jowell
New House of Commons Library analysis commissioned by Tessa Jowell today reveals the true impact of London’s Housing Crisis on first-time buyers in Lambeth and Southwark.
Fresh research reveals that the average first time buyer in Lambeth and Southwark would have to wait over 15 years until they could save a typical 10% deposit without parental help with average house prices at £350,000 in both boroughs.
The figures are based on average earnings, which are £33,000 for an individual working full time.
This is far higher than other areas. In Barking and Dagenham, for instance, the average time it would take a first time buyer on average earnings to save for a deposit is only just over 9 years.
Tessa Jowell, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood said:
“This is the hard truth about how London’s housing crisis denies the dream of owning your own home to young people in places like Lambeth and Southwark.
“We need to build one London not two where everyone has the chance to live in a decent home and first time buyers aren’t excluded from the housing market unless they have access to the bank of mum and dad.
“First things first - the next Mayor has to build many more homes, plain and simple, but we also have to develop a serious plan to help thousands more Londoners get on the housing ladder.
“A more equal London has to mean that it’s possible to buy your own home. We have to solve London’s housing crisis if we want our city to succeed, with a Labour government and mayor working together.”
In addition, Tessa Jowell is calling on people to sign her petition to end what she terms 'the great housing giveaway'. A disastrous change to planning laws means that billions of pounds worth of affordable housing payments could be lost forever - and threatens to destroy the social mix in London for generations. These payments are vitally important to ensure a supply of affordable homes for families, and to ensure that our neighbourhoods remain mixed communities.
Local residents are encouraged to sign: www.endthegreathousinggiveaway.com
Figures based on Office for National Statistics, House Price Statistics for Small Areas in England and Wales, 1995–2013; Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2013
Savings estimated at 7% of gross annual income in line with latest ONS savings ratio figures: here
For full details broken down across London by Local Authority and Parliamentary Constituency, contact Tricia for the document.
Having attended a printmaking course at Morley College, Judith Robertson has found her niche in lino printing, and now works from her studio in her home. See Judith's exhibition at Carnegie Library from 4th-28th March. Works include local scenes such as Peckham Rye, Goose Green, Dulwich Woods etc as well as countryside scenes and the River Thames. See http://dulwichprints.co.uk for details.
Judith will also be offering short courses in East Dulwich after Easter. Please email Judith for more information.
Extraordinary Bodies is the UK's only professional integrated circus company. They made a show for the opening of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition and will present their new show Weighting in Dulwich Park in May.
They are looking to support, develop and coach two people in Southwark so that their leadership potential is realised. For more information, please see below or contact Nick White at email@example.com or call 07875 714995 by Monday 9 March.
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