LIBRARY opening hours across the borough could be reduced by a fifth under the latest moves by St Helens Council to deal with huge budget cuts.

Proposals to be presented at next week’s cabinet meeting underline the local authority’s desire to retain its network of 13 libraries.

It is proposing to save £145,000 by reducing their opening hours by a fifth. This would cut the service from 507.5 hours per week to 406.

The plans, outlined in the agenda for a cabinet meeting scheduled for next week, state it would maintain the current network of libraries while “providing services during times when they are most used by the community and service users”.

St Helens Council, which has shed more than 1,023 jobs over the past two years, says it has to make a number of painful decisions because of the massive reductions in funding from central government. The council has seen a reduction in its grant funding of £36m up to the 2012/13 financial year.

Another £14m of savings has to be made by 2014/2015, meaning the overcall cut will be £50m.