Maurice Nauta was senior manager in the library service and several other frontline services in the county, from 1988 to 2002.
21 January 2016
Dear Mr. Whittingdale,
Request for local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire ( Ref: CMS 264190/asg)
I write further to my letter of 10th January to highlight new developments in Lincolnshire that I believe should play a significant part in your decision as to the need for a local inquiry. Please see the articles to which I refer in the two e-links, below.
In your letter to Councillor Hill of 26th March- “Local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire” you state, on pages 5 and 7 respectively, the following:
“The Mobile services and Community Hubs represent a valuable supplementary resource for residents of Lincolnshire and the Secretary of State supports the work of volunteers in delivery of library services. Although the Community Hubs and Mobile service are a valuable local resource, the Secretary of State has not taken them into account when considering whether to intervene by directing an inquiry, in part because LCC considers that the 15 core static libraries, targeted services and Universal Services enable them to provide a comprehensive and efficient service.” (page 5).
“The Secretary of State further notes that with a reduction in the number of core static libraries it will mean a reduction in the number of households within 30 minute travel time by public transport reducing from 93% to 74%, and in terms of active borrowers a reduction from 94% to 76%” ( at the foot of page 7).
Easy access to a comprehensive and efficient service had been a major plank in the arguments put forward by Lincolnshire County Council to justify the changes they proposed. Relevant now is that Lincolnshire County Council is considering halving the subsidies for the county’s bus routes which will prevent even more people, especially those from deprived areas, being able to access the statutory library service. Please see:
‘Is your bus route one of the 168 facing the axe?’
A further article explains why this is happening:
Central government appears to be heavily supporting London and the Metropolitan Authorities at the expense of rural county councils.
That our Conservative-controlled authority is provoked into launching a “scathing attack on the government for its cuts to the council’s budget over upcoming years” is unprecedented, but it explains why Lincolnshire proposes cutting a crucial service like public transport.
I trust that you will now issue your decision on my request for intervention within 28 days, as the delay in dealing with the same leads me inexorably to the conclusion that your officials are trying to create a fait accompli because they ignore residents’ stated preference to continue to be able to access a public library as specified within the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
Read Mr Nauta’s other letters to the Secretary of State (all three people that have held this post during the Lincolnshire campaign) here: