Lambeth Council has spent approximately £160,000 on consultancy fees for its “cooperative libraries” project while actual libraries in the borough are closed or have had their budgets cut.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by Thurlow Park Conservatives elicited an admission that a huge sum had been spent on consultants and the bill is still rising. While some external advice might be required, these amounts are exorbitant.
The money has been spent on consultants despite the fact that the Council employs experienced library staff, libraries are not a new service, and the cooperative movement generally has been known in the past to give the Labour Party advice and other favours for free.
Thurlow Park Conservative Irene Kimm said: “Labour-controlled Lambeth has cut the budget for the Upper Norwood Joint Library every year since 2006, and West Norwood main library remains closed after more than two years due to Labour-controlled Lambeth’s incompetence. Yet the council hands money to consultants hand over fist. Perhaps only in Lambeth Libraries is so much spent on talking and so little spent on reading material.”