§ Lord Fearn
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What help has been given to local authorities to create, replace or redevelop libraries in the last five years. [HL3167]
§ The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone)
Local authorities are statutorily required to provide a public library service under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act. Local authorities receive funding for those public libraries for which they are responsible through general grant and through council tax. General grant has this year increased by some £2.4 billion, which is an increase of 5.9 per cent. Government grant to councils has increased by 25 per cent in real terms since 1997. It is for local authorities to decide how to spend the funds available.
Local authorities seeking to build new libraries can apply to the DCMS for private finance initiative credits, and the award-winning new central library in Bournemouth was funded by a PFI project.