Community hubs and libraries across Leeds could face reduced opening hours, if Leeds City Council plans to instigate a raft of financial cuts become a reality.
The hubs – which include Armley, Bramley, Hawksworth and Pudsey, along with Calverley Library – typically house a number of council services.
Council chiefs have launched a public consultation on proposals to reduce opening hours in a bid to save money as the authority faces its ‘most challenging financial position since 2011.
The council has had reductions in funding from central government of over 30% of its budget in the last decade, increased costs due to the energy crisis, greater demand for services due to the cost of living crisis and increased demand for social care rising by £46m over the past 12 years.
It has already announced the proposed closure of Pudsey Civic Hall and has already launched a public consultation into the proposal. Building closures and sales, new car parking charges, service and staffing reductions and price increases are among wide-ranging changes being proposed as Leeds City Council sets out its annual budget plans for the 2024-25 financial year.
Council chiefs say they also face savings of £58.4m next year, alongside £7.4m of already agreed savings; £60.6m the year after and £46.1m the year after that. The council argues it has had to find savings of £795m a year since 2010/11.
The consultation states: “In order for us to continue to deliver as efficient and effective a service as we can, whilst contributing to the Council’s financial challenge we would like to change our opening hours, resulting in some reduction.
“The council has a specific statutory requirement to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, and the proposed change in opening hours does not undermine this statutory duty.”
The consultation into community hub and library cuts can be accessed here.
Follow WLD’s Cutswatch series of articles to keep track on proposed cuts.