Trade counts costs of spending review

Trade counts costs of spending review

<p>Author events, library funding and discretionary spending on books could all be under threat after cost-cutting measures were announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday (21st October).</p><p>The government has been warned that the Comprehensive Spending Review should not lead to &ldquo;the demolition&rdquo; of the public library services as the sector and literary agencies began assessing the impact of government cuts.</p><p>The CSR dominated the agenda at the CILIP Public Libraries Authorities conference as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was warned of the impact of cuts from &#65505;1.4bn to &#65505;1.1bn by 2014/15.</p><p> The Reading Agency director, Miranda McKearney, feared that reader development initiatives, such as author events, reading groups and baby rhyme times could be under threat, particularly in smaller authorities. &quot;Our reading of the situation is that in some places there&rsquo;s a very real &shy;danger of libraries retrenching to a position where the reading service is basically just books on shelves. That would be a disaster,&quot; she said.</p><p>Other organisations and businesses were also feeling the impact of the cuts, in particular the 29.6% budget cut handed on from the DCMS to Arts Council England. Carcanet Press&rsquo; Michael Schmidt, who in 2009/10 received &#65505;119,711 in funding from the Arts Council, foresaw the greatest impact coming from the pressure the cuts would place on the council&rsquo;s &ldquo;very responsive and<br />already very efficient&rdquo; staff. &ldquo;It is already an almost anorexically slim organisation,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The Manchester-based publisher said it was &ldquo;keeping its courage&rdquo; by increasing staff from seven to nine, and holding firm on the size of its list. Schmidt added: &ldquo;We decided to try to weather the storm with a bit of growth.&rdquo;</p><p>Viv Bird, executive director of reading charity Booktrust, which received &#65505;302,601 in Arts Council funding in 2009/10, recognised that the cuts would mean it had to operate in a new landscape.<br />Booktrust received &#65505;302,601 in Arts Council funding in 2009/10, and Bird said that while more efficient ways to deliver were being sought by everyone, she was optimistic of continuing to secure sufficient funding. &quot;While we cannot afford to be complacent, we are hopeful,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The IPG, which is facing a small cut as a result of the Arts Council squeeze, said the review would have an impact on discretionary spending on books, making everybody worse off. Executive director Bridget Shine said that independent publishers may struggle to grow and take risks in such<br />uncertain times.</p><p>The PA&rsquo;s chief executive, Richard Mollet, warned local councils would be left with tough choices to make on funding for libraries following a 7.1% cut to local councils each year for four years. He welcomed the ring-fencing of school spending but expressed concerns over the lack of protection around higher education funding and the reductions to further education budgets.</p><p><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/20/spending-cuts-libraries-at-r... target="_blank" title="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/20/spending-cuts-libraries-at-r... Guardian reports that authors and publishers have warned that &quot;access to literary culture will shrink in Britain as a result of the cuts&quot;</a>. Former children&#39;s laureate Michael Rosen warned that any cuts to libraries would damage opportunities for children and young people. Joanna Prior, managing director of the Penguin General, said the cuts would damage the crucial work libraries do towards reading and social inclusion, as well as affecting a wide range of publishing.</p>