Union members have raised concerns over the new outsourcing contract for the running of library services agreed last night.

Members of Harrow Unison raised a number of concerns over the new libraries contract before it was agreed at the meeting of Harrow Borough Council's cabinet.

The deal was for library services to be run by John Laing Integrated Services Ltd in partnership with the neighbouring borough of Ealing.

The cabinet also agreed to award the contract for the delivery of leisure management services to Sports & Leisure Management Ltd in partnership with the boroughs of Brent and Ealing.

Darren Butterfield, from Unison, said members were concerned with the libraries contract.

He said: “We are concerned about the outsourcing of services and the effect it will have on the provision of that service.

“There are also concerns from our members about the transfer of contracts and that if the service is outsourced then profit making will come before the needs of the residents who use the libraries.

“We are also disappointed that the Independent Labour Group, who say they are following the Labour manifesto, are looking to outsource a vital service.”

Under the contract, Harrow Council says it will retain control of all decisions regarding libraries.

With the leisure contract there will be an investment of £1.7million in Harrow Leisure Centre to pay for new gym equipment, changing facilities and an improved reception.

Council leader Thaya Idaikkadar said at the meeting: “With the state of the economy in Harrow and for everyone at the moment we have to be pragmatic.

“The public of Harrow really values these services and people will be more concerned about keeping them than who is running them.

“We also have to take into account the needs of the other boroughs involved.”

With the five-year contract for libraries and ten-year deal for the leisure facilities the council estimates savings of £20million will be made.