Libraries could suffer more cuts as Hampshire County Council tries to handle a funding shortage.
The council’s financial strategy for 2025-26 was approved on November 9 but there will be more consultation on proposals to save £200,000 from its £1.2 million annual budget for buying new books and digital items such as eBooks, eAudiobooks and ePress for libraries.
To oversee and scrutinise the approach and outcome of the extra consultation on this plan, the Children and Young People Select Committee has created a working group to help the Children’s Services Directorate with the decision-making process.
The group comprises eight Children and Young People Select Committee members – five Conservatives, two Liberal Democrats and an Independent.
After the new consultation the group will meet to provide feedback to officers and agree its report to the Children and Young People Select (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee.
Other money-making and saving proposals include more parking charges and changes to how council tips are used.
Council leader Cllr Rob Humby said its priority was to “make the most of the public’s money” and take “very seriously” its legal responsibility to ensure a balanced budget. Failure to produce one could see the council effectively declare bankruptcy.
Cllr Humby added: “This will become increasingly challenging after April 2025, as our costs keep rising and demand continues to grow for vital local services like social care – part of a problem also facing many other local councils.
“We cannot wait for a long-term national remedy, however, so it’s up to us to look at what we can do locally to start to close the budget gap in future years and ensure we can continue to deliver services that protect those children and adults who most need our help.”