Bankers handouts will go to libraries first, council boss reveals

A CAMDEN councillor has revealed that libraries are being prioritised to receive cash handouts from bankers who take up the Town Hall’s appeal to donate part of their bonuses to bolster public services.

The council revealed plans last week to send letters to wealthy financiers in Hampstead, Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill asking them to give up some of their yearly pay-outs for the benefit of the borough.

And at a meeting about the future of Highgate library on Thursday, Labour’s leisure boss Tulip Siddiq promised the donated cash will go straight to the library service - which is facing cuts of almost �2million.

She said: “We’re asking, not just bankers, but anyone who wants to contribute money to contribute to a charitable trust.

“This depends on how generous the Camdeners are. We can’t force people to give us money. If they do give us money cabinet have agreed that it will go to the libraries first.”

With a public consultation launched this month, Cllr Siddiq invited residents to put forward any other ideas they had to save the borough’s libraries.

But while pronouncing herself “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook for the service, she admitted changes were inevitable due to the scale of the cuts.

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“No-one becomes a councillor to implement cuts. This is being implemented from central government – it’s devastating,” she said.

“I will do everything in my power to protect the most vulnerable.

“This meeting was constructive because people came up with good ideas. I need Camdeners to help.

“I’ve also started to look at how Camdeners can help us if the government keep taking money away. I’m lobbying the government at the moment. I’m asking people to give up time to come up with ideas.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’m realistic that things will change because we’ve got to make up this �1.6million from the budget.”