I HAVE followed with great interest and mounting concern the news of the proposed changes to Kirklees libraries and particularly the plan to withdraw all paid staff from seven branch libraries and hand them over to be run by volunteers.
Our branch libraries provide a vital service and, in many small communities, they are one of the few fully accessible meeting places.
The Denby Dale library is a real hub of the community and through the organising skill and experience of the paid staff hosts a wide range of activities and facilities in addition to loaning books. Such services could not be provided by volunteers even with telephone support for the proposed ‘hub libraries.’
The only reason for such a drastic proposal we are told is to save money, but it is by no means clear how this saving is to be made.
In an article in the Examiner on Monday, March 26, Clr Shabir Pandor was quoted as saying: “The current buildings can be made available and Kirklees will continue to provide financial support.’’ So no saving there.
Moreover, the current Kirklees Budget Summary Booklet (available in branch libraries) states on P21 that projected staffing in libraries and information centres will fall from 239.5 full time equivalents in 2011/12 to 237.2 FTEs in the year 2013/14, thereby allowing a saving of 2.3 staff salaries, a derisory sum compared to the damage done to seven branch libraries to achieve it.
So we have a proposal to save money with the potential to do great damage to libraries but little potential to make substantial savings.
Why was this not picked up in the consultation phase? Answer, because there hasn’t been one.
The only consultation envisaged for this flawed proposal is not about the merits or otherwise of the proposal itself, but is only about how the proposal might be implemented?
Surely the only sensible and fair course is to start again, to review the whole future role and use of all of libraries in Kirklees with the full involvement of the people of Kirklees and to come up with properly costed proposals for full consultation.
Deal or no deal?
KIRKLEES Council’s latest multi-million pound Development Agreement over Lindley Moor raises the need for better public accountability for this form of ‘infrastructure tax’.
Miller Homes has agreed to cough up £4.4m alongside permission to build nearly 300 homes on Lindley Moor.
This money includes £2m to turn Ainley Top into a magic roundabout, nearly £1m for schools facilities and £1m worth of social housing.
But who decides these priorities and on what basis and how are we to judge whether or not this is a good deal ?
The Huddersfield Area Committee’s entire annual budget is only £250,000 of revenue and £100,000 of capital spending determined by 21 local councillors – dwarfed by a single Development Agreement, determined by a few faceless officials.
The millions of pounds involved in development agreements each year do not explicitly appear in the Kirklees Accounts, nor are there any comparisons available between local authority areas as there are for collecting council tax or rents to show if Kirklees is good or bad at levying this ‘infrastructure tax.’
Kenn Winter BSc Econ
Wart on our landscape
WITH the LDF and latest Government proposals under constant attack by various bodies, Kirklees and many other so-called experts assure us that professionals know best.
Well, following the issue of repairs to the Media Centre roof caused by its ‘cutting edge design’ we are now in a position to finally judge the architectural merits of the last great debate – the new Technical College.
And what a white, grey and black monstrosity it is! Surrounded by buildings beautifully dressed in their York stone finery, this stands out like a large wart on someone’s nose.
If this is the best our planning ‘experts’ can do, they should hang their heads in shame!
It is bad enough one has to see it, but at the same time Kirklees appears determined to cut off access to Huddersfield from the Holme and Colne valleys with extensive roadworks – 29 weeks at Chapel Hill and 10 weeks at Longroyd Bridge – causing motorists to sit and view this blot on the landscape even longer than necessary.
Power to serve
REGARDING your weekend article on George Galloway and Clr Mehboob Khan. I imagine voters chose Mr Galloway because they believed he wanted to gain power in order to serve them whereas the other parties simply wanted power.
Instead of criticising his cat impersonations Clr Khan, maybe being relevant would have made for a better campaign?
I have received the full set of election leaflets of strangers pointing at potholes and litter behind fences, but come May 6 I’m going to vote for an independent – preferably Respect.
Ignoring local voices
I PERSONALLY have no axe to grind on any political party as I think all are a waste of space but Clr Mehboob Khan’s statement in Saturday’s Examiner sums up politics and I quote: “In Huddersfield we have candidates and councillors who are well connected to the local communities and provide a strong voice for local residents.’’
Considering the amount of opposition there has been to various issues and local voices have just been ignored don’t you think this makes a mockery of Clr Khan’s statement?
Struggle for main parties
ONE thing worse than being mentioned in Examiner letters is not being mentioned to paraphrase Oscar Wilde of course.
I find it flattering to be mentioned a few times in Thursday’s Examiner and I thank the Examiner for making such interesting debate public.
I am amazed so many Labour members take issue so personally.
I take issue with writers who distort facts, figures and even twist their record in government.
With the Respect party winning in Bradford, however, we must stop and reflect on the major parties’ demise.
What are the lessons? Usually a Government receives bad polling figures mid-term.
So Conservative and Liberals should have expected a walloping. Labour is the Opposition party and they also took a hammering.
This to me shows that Labour has no alternative to offer, only opposing every policy put forward by the Coalition.
The Coalition is here for the next three years, plenty of time to turn the economy around I hope.
Labour has got to start putting forward a viable alternative instead of just carping criticism.
In Saturday’s Examiner, someone took issue with myself and others for touching the forelock to our various parties.
I have no problem in saying, presentation wise, the Conservative message has been a bit of a mess.
Underneath that, though, I still believe that it is carrying out the right policies to take us through a turbulent time.
As a member of the Executive of the Huddersfield Conservative Association, responsible for recruiting new members and raising funds, I can tell you there is plenty of belief in what we are doing.
In a town with no Conservative councillors and a Liberal Democrat group that endorses everything the minority ruling Labour Party does, it is important to show there is an alternative in the run up to the council elections.
Huddersfield Conservative Association
By George, he did it!
I AM no longer a member of the Respect Party, but I congratulate George Galloway and his supporters for their stunning victory in last week’s Bradford West parliamentary by-election.
Through their 18,341 votes they spoke for millions in defence of public services and against austerity, unemployment, privatisation and war.
If the Labour Party (Clr Mehboob Khan’s comments, Examiner, March 31) has no better message than to remind people that Galloway acted silly on a TV reality show six years ago then they really are on the slide.
Huddersfield Socialist Workers Party has a meeting about defending pensions this Wednesday.
It will be at 6.30pm at Café Society in Byram Street, Huddersfield town centre.
Socialist Workers Party
SO it has come down to this – a pie (sorry, pasty) eating contest between the political parties.
Following the announcement that warm pasties will attract 20% VAT, prominent members of both major parties have been falling over themselves to be snapped eating same.
This is a competition to show how much they are in touch with the plebs.
Both parties seemed uncomfortable with the food of the common man.
Although it may not be the healthiest of diets it just goes to show how little they understand the working classes.
Also, quite insulting that they think we may be swayed by a photo shoot.
Mr J S Kelly
Oliver Field appeal
MAY I please say a big thank you to all my family and friends for all their help at the coffee morning.
Also to everyone who gave donations of prizes and cakes, and a huge thank you to everyone who came along and supported us.
We raised over £800.