Barnet Council Giving With One Hand And Taking With The Other
On January 23rd Barnet Council’s Adults and Safeguarding Committee voted to make cuts of £458,373 to Early Intervention and Prevention Services. These include ending the funding to Inclusion Barnet (a local charity) to provide peer support planning and brokerage, which the Council claim will save £73, 261.5.
The Council’s reason for this is that there is lower level of use for this service than anticipated, and that this work can be done by Barnet Social workers.
This is despite 83% of those consulted, disagreeing with the move.
Yet this is the same Council that is giving Inclusion Barnet between £25, 000 and £35,000 a year to take over the running of East Barnet and South Friern Libraries, despite opposition to this voiced in consultations, petitions and protests since 2014.
Barnet Council are withdrawing funding to a local charity with the necessary expertise. to provide a service well regarded by the public. Yet are giving this organisation, that has no experience of running libraries, funding to replace experienced and qualified library workers. Inclusion Barnet are losing funding to provide a service because of “low level of use” but the libraries the Charity will run will only be open 15 hours a week which will certainly reduce level of use.
There is little logic in this decision but reason is something not to be expected from an administration hell-bent on cutting services and reducing the quality of life of the people of Barnet.
“The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”
UNISON General Secretary
The assault on our public services in recent years has fallen hardest on local government – with libraries particularly under fire.
And there are few areas that have suffered greater attacks from their local authority than Barnet.
“You have got our full support and if you need any help just let us know” Mr Prentis speaking to the #BarnetStrikers
So I was proud to be on the picket line alongside library workers today, taking the fight to the so-called Tory “easycouncil” and showing local people how severe and damaging the cuts to their local services really are.
I spoke with activists Fiona Turnbull and Hugh Jordan (Barnet UNISON’s libraries convenor) about the sheer scale of job losses and service cuts being inflicted on an already bare bones service. At Chipping Barnet (where we met this morning) the library will lose 33 staff hours (down from 56.5 hours at present). Other libraries will lose more than half of their size and be reduced to volunteer only provision.
Services lost or weakened. Jobs cuts. And those in the community who need them most left to suffer.
“Our members in Barnet have been at the sharp end, with the council outsourcing anything it can. The spirit shown by our library workers today is a tremendous example to us all – and we will stand by them as they fight for their jobs.”
‘Defend the 10libraries campaign in Lambeth sends solidarity to all the library workers taking strike action this week to stop the destruction of the library service in Barnet.
With cuts, closures and privatisation of our library services up and down the country we know how important it is to stand up and fightback. Your action will not only help in the battle to stop Barnet’s plans but will also give heart to everyone who wants to see an end to the ongoing devastation of vital library services.
We wish you all the best! Your fight is our fight!’
To our brothers and sisters in Barnet UNISON – your fight against the privatisation and decimation of Public Services by the ideologically driven Tories in our Borough is an inspiration to the Trade Union movement.
Libraries are a beacon of any civilised society, providing a safe environment where generations of our community have benefited from this vital social service, helping to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots.
Libraries are spaces where people of all ages and all backgrounds can practice lifelong learning, something that the Tories in our Borough well understand and find distasteful.
We stand with you in your fight against this attack on our community.
“BAPS and Save Barnet Libraries support your strike action and hope to see you on the picket line. As you know our two groups have been campaigning to save the library service since the first dreadful plans were put forward. We understand the value of trained professionals, and appreciate that it is your skills and experience that have provided the high-quality service that we have enjoyed and depended on. We deplore the cuts in space, material resources and, above all, in your jobs.
We are still working on the campaign and stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”
A message of support to library workers organised by Barnet Unison
Barnet NUT gives 100% support to the forthcoming strike by our fellow workers in Barnet Libraries. Of course we extend this support in the spirit of worker solidarity – an injury to one is an injury to all. But we also support you because of the valuable work you do in performing such an important public sector and public education role for all the residents of Barnet. Without your contribution our residents and our children will be so much the poorer.
We salute you for standing up for your rights and ours.
For your livelihood and ours. For your community and ours.
” I want to send a message of solidarity and support to Barnet UNISON Library workers who are taking 3 days strike action next week in defence of service and jobs. I am proud to have marched with Barnet UNISON and your Save Barnet Libraries campaign on 12 September 2015. I was impressed with how the union and the community were working together to defend their local services. Good luck with your strike and your campaign.”
Davy Hopper, General Secretary , Durham Miners’Association