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Talks begin over the future of Liverpool's libraries

The Reading Rooms at Liverpool's Central Library, which is not affected by the consultation. Credit: PA

Talks have begun over the future of Liverpool libraries.

The four week consultation takes place as Liverpool Council's Libraries Service seeks to save £2.5 million from its budget.

The authority says the funding shortage is due to a 58 percent Central Government funding cut.

Discussions are underway over the future of Breck Road, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Kensington, Lee Valley, Old Swan, Sefton Park, Spellow, Walton, Wavertree and West Derby libraries.

Under the proposals, the council said 95 per cent of people will still live within two miles of a library and the Home Library Service and the RNIB Talking Book Service will not be affected.

The council would continue to run Central Library - which is used by 45 percent of service users - and seven community libraries: Croxteth, Norris Green, Toxteth, Childwall, Allerton, Garston and Parklands

The libraries which are at risk are those which generally have below average use, high running costs or are in close proximity to another library, the council said.

“We fully appreciate and understand that people will want to see as many libraries protected as possible, and we are doing everything we possibly can to come up with innovative ways to keep some of them open.

“The sad fact is that Liverpool City Council used to receive £514 million in funding from Central Government, but by 2017 we will have only £264 million. This means making extremely difficult decisions, and we are trying to make sure we protect services for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and children in care.

“We are in discussions with a number of different organisations, and I am hopeful that we will be able to hand some of the buildings over with some form of retained library service.

“It is also an opportunity to take a fresh look at our libraries service, because we have to accept that the way in which people access libraries has changed over the years due to shifts in the city’s population.

"There have also been great advances in technology which is why we are expanding our increasingly popular Read Liverpool e-library service.”

– Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool's Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for libraries.
Dovecot Library. Credit: ITV News

A series of consultation meetings will take place over the next few weeks before a further report is drawn up with a final set of proposals to be considered by the Cabinet later this year.

The council said an initial consultation held earlier this year found:

  • 45 per cent of customers use Central Library, and 40 per cent of those consulted said they would use this library if their local library closed.
  • The most-used libraries are Central Library, Allerton, Childwall, Garston and Norris Green. Together these libraries account for 57 per cent of the total library use across the city
  • 59 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to visit another library if their local one was to close.

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£16 million boost for jobs in Liverpool

Liverpool has seen major regeneration over recent years Credit: PA Images

More than 1,000 jobs are set to be created in Liverpool through a £16 million project to help businesses expand.

Liverpool City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership has successfully bid for almost £8 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

That cash is being matched with an additional £6 million from the private sector and £2 million of public funding.

The New Markets and Growth Business Programme, which runs until October 2015, is aimed at supporting small businesses to grow and access export markets.

The city council will be partnering with specialist business support agencies including the University of Liverpool Management School, the Women’s Organisation and Smaller Earth which helps young entrepreneurs.

They will provide advice and support to assist 1,190 businesses across Liverpool City Region, 714 of them in the city itself.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:

“At a time when public sector employment is reducing, it is absolutely vital that we do more to support businesses to expand and create jobs.

“Growing startup businesses and encouraging entrepreneurs is crucial if we are to make sure there are opportunities for our residents.

“The International Festival for Business taking place later this year is a huge opportunity for Liverpool to market itself to the world, showcasing the city as a great place to invest.

This scheme will help us support our own firms to take advantage of the profile and exposure that the event will create.”

Liverpool City council decide on budget cuts

Tough decisions at Liverpool town hall Credit: ITV Granada

Liverpool city council will decide where the axe will fall as they aim to make almost one hundred and 60 million pounds worth of savings.

The budget has been cut for the next three years, starting with 45 million pounds worth of reductions needed over the next 12 months.

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Campaigner who battled against £60m Liverpool regeneration project 'still angry' three years on

When councillors in Liverpool wanted to widen a main route into the city and tear down hundreds of Victorian houses one woman led the campaign to stop them.

Elizabeth Pascoe stood in the way of the £60m Edge Lane regeneration project.

Now it's almost finished the council says the city centre is more accessible.

But what does Elizabeth make of the changes?

Anfield residents waited 'too long' for regeneration decision

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has welcomed news that more than 370 homes in Anfield that were earmarked for demolition, will now be saved.

They will become part of the £25m Anfield Village regeneration scheme.

Almost 170 of the houses are empty and will now be kept and refurbished.

A further 224 houses, 116 of which are vacant, will be demolished.

"This is great news for Anfield and marks a major milestone for this important scheme. Residents have waited too long for this work to happen, and have been rightly concerned and frustrated. I'm delighted that we are now working effectively with our partners to drive forward these plans and build a better future for the area.

"I have pledged to build 5,000 homes in Liverpool over the next four years, and I've also made it a priority for the city to refurbish more homes than we demolish. Although some demolition is still necessary as part of these plans, this is a good example of how we are listening to local people and working with them to bring homes back into use.

"It's really important that the community is on-board with these plans, so I'm delighted that these plans have received such a high level of backing from residents. We can now press on with delivering these vital housing improvements over the coming weeks and months to create a new Anfield where people are proud to live."

– Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson

Doomed houses given reprieve in Liverpool

More than 370 homes in Anfield, previously earmarked for demolition have been saved.

The announcement follows months of consultation between residents and Liverpool City Council. Under the new plans, 374 properties will be kept and refurbished and a further 224 will be demolished.

Work is now underway to create "Anfield Village", which is expected to cost around £25m.