Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire have launched a campaign to protect people’s free internet access at libraries.
At a committee meeting on Tuesday 13th February, the Conservatives passed a motion on the future direction of the Library service which included a charge for people using computers at the library for more than half an hour. Liberal Democrats proposed an amendment to remove this specific charge, but neither the Tories or the Labour member on the committee supported this.
Liberal Democrats believe that access to the internet is a key element of equality in the modern world, and that the County Council has a responsibility to provide access to computers to those, who for reasons of finance or where they live may not have high quality internet access in their homes.
Those living in poverty or in rural areas are already isolated in many ways. To charge for computer use in libraries will only deepen the inequalities in our county. Jobseekers and those receiving Universal Credit are likely to suffer particularly, as they are obliged to spend many hours looking for work in order to receive their benefits.
We also believe the costs of putting in place such a system (estimated as £18,800 for software alone) would negate any income received for years.
The Liberal Democrats are therefore opposing this charge. Over 500 people signed our petition before the meeting. We'll be bringing the matter to full council in the future so please do sign and share so we can show the Tory County Council just how many people are appalled by this measure.
We, the undersigned, call on the County Council to reject proposals to charge people for using the computers and internet at Cambridgeshire’s libraries.