September 17 2014 Latest news:
Emma Lake, Reporter
Monday, September 1, 2014
An angry backlash against proposed cuts to Havering’s libraries has been posted on the council-run service’s twitter page.
It appears that someone may have hacked into the Havering Library Service twitter account, @Haveringlibrary, to express their disgust at plans to slash the service’s budget by more than £1million.
A tirade against the cuts started at about 8pm on Friday evening with the tweet “50 jobs to go at Havering Libraries part of Havering Councils budget cuts proposals”. The tweet was retweeted 14 times and favourited three times by users of the social media network.
At 11.21pm on Friday the account tweeted “No more events or activities unless run by volunteers at havering libraries so pay your council tax and provide services yourself !!”
The outcry continued into Friday night.
Havering Council unveiled budget plans intended to make £60million of savings last week.
Within the proposals the library budget is slashed by £1.138million, a move that would see a reduction in opening hours at some branches.
A spokesman for the council has said it is not known who tweeted the comments.
Councillor Melvin Wallace, Cabinet Member for Culture & Community Engagement, said: “I understand entirely that some staff are upset by the proposals, especially given the impact on jobs in the library service. There are other staff across the Council who are also facing uncertainty around their jobs, and it’s important we listen to them, as well as the public, before any plans are finalised.
“We’ve had to draw up proposals to reduce the Council’s budget by around a third and there are hard decisions to make across all our services. We’re hugely proud of our libraries, which is why no library would close under our proposals.
“We believe that shortened opening hours is a price worth paying to avoid closures, but we’ll be happy to hear from staff or customers if they have alternative ideas.”
A public consultation is expected to be launched towards the end of September.