Liverpool City Council is considering plans to close One Stop Shops in the city, potentially leaving just one facility located in St Johns Market in the City Centre.
Liberal Democrats originally introduced One Stop Shops to Liverpool, and we are opposed to these cuts for a number of reasons.
- The "Digital Divide" mostly affects the oldest and poorest in the city who do not have internet access or lack confidence to deal with complicated issues online. These residents are the most frequent users of One Stop Shops, and most reliant on face to face contact.
- Proposals for occasional "pop-up" centres will not work. To be effective, One Stop Shops need to have regular reliable opening times. Those who use one stop shops are the least able to check online when and where their nearest facility will be.
- Most One Stop Shops are based within libraries. Removing them will simply transfer running costs to the library service, increasing the chance of the council targeting libraries for closure in the future.
A lot has changed since One Stop Shops were created, and we do not want to see money wasted on facilities that are poorly used.
However the council should be exploring options to make them more relevant to the needs of the local community. This includes inviting government agencies and local housing associations to share the facilities and make their services more accessible. And even making them available for post office, basic banking or credit union services in those areas where those facilities have been lost.
* Photo credit: John Bradley Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0
Petition: I/we call on Liverpool City Council to reconsider plans to close the city's One Stop Shops, and work to attract other organisations to share these facilities to reduce running costs and provide a greater range of services to the local community.