CONCERNS have been expressed at the impact budget cuts to Peterborough’s culture and leisure provider will have on library opening hours.
Peterborough City Council announced recently that it intends to reduce its yearly funding to Vivacity by a £100,000, with council chiefs stating this could impact on services.
And Vivacity, which currently receives £3.142 million a year from the council to provide services such as libraries, sports centres and cultural services such as the Key Theatre, has admitted the cut will mean a reduction in services, although it has not yet said what services would be affected.
That has not stopped city councillors express their disquiet at what they believe will mean reduced opening hours at city libraries.
Ravensthorpe councillor Ed Murphy thinks it could even lead to library closures, saying: “These budget cuts will mean a reduction in services to residents, with library closures and reduced opening hours back on the agenda.
“The introduction of charges at the museum will also be contemplated if they are able to afford to open it after the refurbishment it is currently undergoing.”
The budget proposals set forward by the council also includes a reduction in funding to the tune of £420,000 to Enterprise Peterborough, which handles the council’s city services department.
Kevin Tighe, chief executive of Vivacity, has expressed his disappointment at the proposal put forward by the council, considering the culture trust has handed back £180,000 of savings to the council in this year alone.
He said: “We are disappointed that Peterborough City Council are looking to reduce the services across culture and leisure provided by Vivacity, although we acknowledge the challenging economic times in which these proposals are being made and the difficult decisions that are having to be made.
“To have to deliver a further £100,000 of savings would be a challenge and would mean a reduction in services to our customers.
“We will work closely in partnership with the Council to help them determine how to take this forward.”
Another councillor to express disappointment at the cut was Walton councillor Nick Sandford.
He said: “I would say it’s clear that Vivacity are going to have to make cuts because of the council’s reduction in their funding.
“The Lib Dem group has always argued that libraries are a basic service which should be kept under direct local authority control.
“Libraries help children to learn to read and enable people of all ages, particularly those on lower incomes.
“Many councils have set up leisure/cultural trusts but only a few have included libraries.”
What do you think about possible cuts to Vivacity’s services?