Opposition councillors on Gloucestershire County Council have identified the central government distributed ‘new homes bonus’ as a potential source of funding to save the county’s library service.
The following press release has been distributed by the County Council’s Liberal Democrat group:
The coalition government’s “new homes bonus scheme”, will see Gloucestershire County Council receiving an extra £589,345 this coming year. The provisional grant was announced on Friday 18th February.
Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton is calling on this new money to be used to save 10 libraries in Gloucestershire from closure.
He said: “For £600 thousand pounds we can keep ten libraries open that are currently threatened with closure by the Tories who control the county council.
“There is much public anger over the cuts in our library network and popular libraries in communities such as Churchdown, Hesters Way, Matson, Brockworth, Stonehouse, Wotton, Prestbury, Moreton and Mitcheldean could now be saved.
“Mark Hawthorne the Tory Leader must now bite the bullet and save these libraries from closure. He has the money. He can keep these libraries open. He has no excuse. He must now issue a reprieve and save 10 libraries today.”
The £589,345 from the new homes bonus scheme awarded to the county council will be repeated each year, for the next six years and will total £3.5m.
The new homes bonus scheme rewards local councils for the number of new homes built each year. The council gets double the council tax on these new homes, each year, for next six years.
In the last twelve months, Gloucestershire has seen 2,000 new homes built, which means the county council will get a grant of £589,345.
This new money has not been accounted for in the county budget that was approved by council on the 16th of February.