Havering Council must rethink its proposed library closures, says UNISON

Monday 20 April 2024

For immediate release

Havering Council must rethink its proposed library closures, says UNISON.

 Four public libraries in Havering are at risk of closure, as the council seeks to address its £32.5m budget shortfall, warns UNISON today (Monday).

 UNISON says the libraries under threat are crucial lifelines for many residents, as they provide books, access to computers, educational resources but also safe spaces and social hubs for all.

 The union is urging the council to explore other options before resorting to such drastic measures.

 UNISON Greater London regional organiser Fran Allton said: “Havering Council, like many other local authorities, is in deep financial trouble after years of funding cuts from central government.

 “Libraries do more than simply provide books, they’re crucial to a range of residents, and a free service many rely on.

 “The council shouldn’t be choosing quick fixes without considering the harm to communities. There must be a rethink.”

 UNISON Havering branch secretary Gabby Lawler said: “The value libraries provide far outweighs the immediate financial savings, and the long-term social cost of closures will be profound.”


Notes to editors:

– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

 Media contact:

Rosie Sammut E:r.sammut@unison.co.uk M: 07958 063188