CASH-STRAPPED Solihull Council’s decision to increase library fees and charges has angered one local councillor.
Lib Dem deputy leader Tim Hodgson feels that the rises, some by 50 per-cent, are simply not necessary.
The Shirley South councillor’s concerns came as increases of 15 per-cent to meeting rooms in local libraries were given the go-ahead.
Facilities at Chelmsley Wood, Olton, and Dickens Heath libraries now cost £15 per hour to hire out and Mr Hodgson is alarmed at the increases.
“A lot of meeting rooms are visited by people who do not have much money anyway,” he said.
“The majority are charity or voluntary groups who struggle for funding so this will affect them even more.”
In libraries, overdue charges will increase with the maximum fine for adults rising by 50 per-cent to £15 and 100 per-cent for concessions to £5.
Replacement fees for CDs and DVDs will rise by 25 per-cent and photocopying and printing charges will rise by 25 per-cent and 33.33 per-cent respectively.
Councillor Hodgson is also concerned at the stark rise in stationary which will see the price of a pen shoot up from 15p to 50p. The price of pencils will double from 15p to 30p and the multi-buy offer of three pens for 40p will now cost £1
“I’m not sure we will be selling much stationary by putting it up to these prices, and are we really going to increase income by putting these costs up?”
Leader of the Council Ken Meeson responded by saying: “Our meeting room charges are far below our competitors and on a par with meeting room provision.”
Conservative cabinet member Councillor Diana Holl-Allen also backed the increase.
“It’s just nit-picking.”