Cromer anger at library hours cuts
Angry councillors at Cromer are asking county hall to cut its hospitality budget rather than prune library opening hours.
And mayor Greg Hayman says he is boycotting a summer reception for mayors hosted by the county council chairman to match the town's stance on the issue.
A special town council meeting called to discuss the cuts, as part of a Norfolk-wide consultation over plans to cut �1.49m from the library service budget but keep 47 branches open, said the reduction of library opening hours would impact on people in the town and surrounding villages.
A motion agreed by members suggested the county council should 'use funds from its hospitality budget (�68,000 per year) to lesson cuts to the library service.'
Mr Hayman said members felt county money should be spent on 'libraries rather than partying'.
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He had been invited to a July 15 reception for mayors being hosted by new county council chairman Shelagh Hutson at Easton College on July 15.
'Because the town council has taken this view it would be wrong to attend,' he added.
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County council deputy leader Ian Mackie, who is also cabinet member for finance and performance, said: "Norfolk County Council's current budget for corporate hospitality is �65,680 per annum and this sum supports the work of the chairman and the Lord Lieutenant's office.
'The budget is less than was spent in 2009/10 and, at its current level, represents spending of 0.01 per cent of the council's revenue budget, far less than a penny per head of the Norfolk population.
"Among other things, the budget is carefully targeted to help recognise and demonstrate support for some of the organisations and individuals or events that have helped make, and keep, Norfolk as the very special place it is. For example, carers, voluntary organisations and indeed, the courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces."