WE have recently been through a consultation exercise about proposals for savings in the library service throughout Oxfordshire.

The changes being proposed and the replacement of library staff by volunteers in 21, mainly rural libraries, will result in the loss of the equivalent of 11 full-time staff and savings of £350,000 per year.

One of the frequent responses from Councillor Keith Mitchell, the leader of the council, when dealing with comments and objections to the proposals, has been that he has a very difficult job to do, saving £119m per year over the next four years.

He has also stated that only fire and rescue and children’s social care escape having to cope with cuts.

He fails to mention that the corporate team is escaping the cuts.

In fact it is escaping so well that 12 staff are being recruited.

The total salary for these staff; one HR policy manager, two business support officers, three policy and performance support officers, two senior policy and performance officers and one solicitor, will be £341,000 per year.

This cancels out the savings from using volunteers and means that the hundreds of volunteers required to replace the front-line staff in the 21 libraries affected will in fact be purely helping Cllr Mitchell to increase his headquarters staff.

Arthur Hollis Treasurer Friends of Goring Library