Labour renew call for cross-party committee on libraries

Barnet's Labour councillors have renewed their call for a cross-party committee to be set up to investigate new options for the future of the borough's library service and to take evidence from residents and other interested parties about how they would like the library service to develop.

Labour's Libraries Spokesperson, Cllr Anne Hutton, will be submitting a member's item to the next Children, Education, Libraries & Safeguarding Committee (CELS) on 20 April calling for the cross-party committee to be established straight away so that it can report its findings by September in advance of the publication of next year's draft budget.

The Conservative-led council will start implementing the £2.85 million cuts to the libraries budget next year, and Labour councillors are continuing their fight to stop this from happening.

Labour’s Libraries Spokesperson, Cllr Anne Hutton said: “The Tories seem hell bent on dismantling the Library Service and just don’t want to hear what residents and others who have a stake in our community think.

“They refused to support our extraordinary council meeting motion to stop, re-think and re-consult on libraries, and have refused to discuss at this week’s committee either the 10,000 signature petition opposing the libraries cuts or the consultation results from the current flawed process until after the General Election.

“They clearly intend their shambolic, biased and publically discredited consultation to be the last word on the future of Barnet’s library service, and have deliberately kicked the issue into the long grass because they are worried about its impact on the General Election, after which they will just plough ahead regardless and cut the library service by 60%.

“These delaying tactics show that the Barnet Tories are not interested in genuine public engagement, and this could land them in yet another legal challenge around poor consultation.

"We want to hear directly from residents, and a cross-party committee to take evidence is the right way to do it - I urge the Tories to support this at the April CELS meeting."

Ends.

To contact Cllr Hutton: cllr.a.hutton@barnet.gov.uk
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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