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Public Services Croydon council to rescue libraries from privateer Carillion

LABOUR-RUN Croydon Council is set to take back control of the borough’s libraries and is “determined to protect” the service following the collapse of privateer Carillion.

The 13 libraries have been run by the firm since 2012, when the then Conservative-led council controversially decided to outsource the service.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said the council would be terminating the contract with the firm and reassured the 73 workers that it would be “picking up the mess left by this private company and will be working behind the scenes to ensure all libraries remain open.

“All of the 73 staff employed across all libraries are needed, so we do not expect to lose any jobs,” he added.

He described the Tories’ decision to outsource the management as “strange” and said: “With local services like our libraries, I think we should ask whether profit should be the main driver and in this case I think it’s a no.”

Libraries campaigner Ian Anstice welcomed the council’s decision.

He told the Star: “The collapse of Carillion means there are now no for-profit companies providing library services in the UK. It shows that such companies do not have a magic wand when it comes to running council services more efficiently.

“Simply put, if you’re making a profit from public libraries then you’re doing it wrong.

“Budgets are tight enough without taking a percentage for shareholders and councils have shown themselves adept at trimming budgets themselves over the last few years.”

Ealing Council and Harrow Council are yet to announce plans for its libraries, which had also been outsourced to Carillion.

Last week, Harrow recommended that the troubled firm continue with its contract.

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