As I’ve written before I have to login daily to my Universal Credit account or face sanctions. Before I had the internet the Jobcentre advised I use a library, dedpdes it being 15 miles away. How do people use libraries if they’re cutting computers. Leave a comment at the bottom..
There were 34,794 terminals with internet across libraries in England in 2009/10 – now down to 31,647, yet in Scotland and Wales the numbers rose.
Tory austerity has seen more than 3,000 computers with internet access stripped from libraries, Labour reveals today.
Hard-up families and the elderly are likely to be harder hit by the loss as they rely on publicly-available terminals and are less likely to have the world wide web at home.
Research by the House of Commons Library shows there were 34,794 terminals with internet in libraries in England in 2009/10 – the last full year of a Labour government
But by 2016/17, after seven years of Tory cuts – including slashing town hall funding from Whitehall by 40% – the number plunged to 31,647.
Devolved Governments Hold Steady
In contrast, in Wales where Labour has been in power since the Welsh assembly was created in 1999, the number rose slightly from 2,840 to 2,891.
And in Scotland, where the SNP has run the administration throughout the sane period, the number climbed by 99 from 4,334, to 4,433.
The fall in the number of terminals coincides with a drop in the number of libraries open for at least 10 hours a week, from 3,428 “service points” in 2009/10 to just 2,958 in 2016/17 – a 13% plunge.
Labour, which commissioned the research, warned that with an increasing number of Government functions moving online, including some benefit applications, the most vulnerable in society were being driven off the web.
Shadow Libraries Minister Kevin Brennan said:
“Tory austerity is decimating digital services in libraries up and down the country.
“This is in direct contravention of the Government’s own library targets and is particularly harmful at a time when the Government is increasingly demanding that vulnerable people apply for state support online.