Council Set to Freeze Library Charges

Via: Loz Pycock (Flickr)

City councillors are set to vote in favour of freezing library charges for next year.

Despite the council having to make savings of £23 million over the next two years, all fees and charges, including concessions, in the council’s 14 libraries will be held at this year’s prices.
The decision will be taken at the tourism, development and culture committee on Thursday 11 January when councillors discuss a range of fees and charges.

A report to the committee also recommends charges for room rental at the Brighton Centre or hiring Madeira Drive for events rise in line with the current inflation rate at 2 per cent.

On the seafront, there will be no change in charges for the Volk’s Railway, the rental of beach chalets will rise by 2 per cent, and the hire of beach volleyball courts, lockers and other amenities moving on or just above the rate of inflation when rounding up numbers is taken into account.

Committee chair, councillor Alan Robins, said: “As a council, we are facing very tough financial pressures, but we are also determined to continue giving our residents value for money by keeping our fees and charges for our sporting and cultural activities as low as possible where we can.

“We increased library charges last year, so freezing them now hopefully helps balance the rise in prices 12 months ago.”

Freedom Leisure, which operates the council’s seven sports facilities, is allowed under its contracts to raise its prices by the annual rate of inflation’s RPIX, the Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest payments, which will average just over 4 per cent.

Residents with lower income levels will still be eligible for a leisure card which offers up to 40% discount to the sports facilities.

Mytime Active, which runs the council’s two golf courses and has a similar contract to Freedom Leisure, will increase its membership/season tickets below the contractual amount at around 2 per cent.

Cllr Robins added: “When fees and charges are proposed, a balance needs to be found to ensure services remain financially sustainable whilst still providing value for money.

“We must also ensure the fees and charges provide a range of flexible pricing to suit everyone and are not a barrier to participating in sports.”

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