Opposition councillors have denounced plans to outsource the library services in Croydon.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday night, the Conservative-led council voted in favour of pursing plans to hand the running of the borough's 13 libraries, in partnership with neighbouring Wandsworth Council, to an outside body, but not before coming in for heavy criticism from Labour.

Councillor Maggie Madsell, representing Norbury, questioned the savings and risks raised by cabinet member responsible, Councillor Sara Bashford, including the lack of experience in this field of potential bidders bodies and the impact on staff morale.

Coun Bashford said: "It is right I mention these risks, If there were not risks mentioned you would ask why."

She argued this option was the only way to keep all the libraries open and predicted the decision could reduce the cost to the council by £367,000 annually, while only costing £250,000, spread over two years, to implement.

Asked to clarify how these figures were reached she was unable to provide details.

During an eight-week public consultation process starting in December 2010 the council received 7,304 responses alongside 11 petitions carrying 15,301 signatures.

The cabinet's decision, which will now go to full council, is to work with Wandsworth to find a suitable provider, with the aim to finalise the deal by 2013.