Central government funding to Wirral Council has dropped by around 85% between 2010 and 2020. Income from other sources such as business rates has compensated to a degree, but the overall revenue of the council was still 25% lower in 2020 than it was in 2010.
For the financial year 2010/11, Wirral Council income from central government, council tax and rates was £450m, adjusted for inflation. Ten years later for the financial year 2020/21, and again adjusted for inflation, Wirral Council income was £338m – a huge drop of £112m.
This means that Wirral Council has a seemingly impossible task of balancing its books whilst maintaining services, such as libraries and sports facilities.
Wirral resident Clare O’Grady has recently started a petition to save Hoylake Library, after hearing the library is at risk of closure. The petition has already reached 1,200 signatures.
Clare told birkenhead.news that the library is “a lifeline for everyone – young and old.”
She continued, “It’s everyone’s right to have a library and others may not be accessible to members of the community who struggle to travel. I believe we can save this one by showing our local councillor and law makers how much we love it.”
The petition has been flooded with comments highlighting how important the library is to the community.
Helen van Marle said, “This library is vital for the residents of Hoylake. It has been a huge part of this community for as long as I can remember and it still is.”
Rob Watts commented, “Local Services need to be kept, for people’s welfare and mental health, and local jobs need protecting.”
Hoylake library is a lifeline for everyone – young and old. It’s used by the elderly to tackle isolation, and first-time parents who want to meet other families. It also offers people free education, internet, and is one of the only free spaces were people can spend time. It could also be a space to encompass other community groups upstairs and bring people together within the local community to share projects, learning and skills.
Clare went into more detail about why it is important to sign the petition, “The people of Hoylake, from young families to the older generation, all access and make use of the library. Everyone I’ve spoken to has been very upset about the idea of losing their library and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep it as they have previously when it was under threat.”
She concluded by saying, “We call upon the community to contact MP Margaret Greenwood and local councillors, to support us in keeping the library open. It could be a real community hub again and a very well used space if given the opportunity.”
You can sign the petition by visiting https://www.change.org/p/wirral-council-save-hoylake-library