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Bakewell condemns library closures 'catastrophe'

Broadcaster Joan Bakewell has described library closures in areas including Liverpool and Newcastle as a "cultural catastrophe" and called on culture secretary Maria Miller to prevent them.

In an ITV Tyne Tees report, Baroness Bakewell commented: "Given the disproportionately heavy cuts to local authority funding in the north of England, when will the secretary of state use her considerable reserve powers to stop this cultural catastrophe?"

Conservative peer Lord Gardiner, also interviewed by the TV station, said he took the points "very seriously indeed" and said that local authorities had a legal duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient library service".

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When David Cameron took office he pledged to reduced the north/south divide. This scandal is yet another betrayal of that stated intent. However, this time it is an undermining of the literary foundation of England. Carnegie must be pirouetting in his grave.

When David Cameron took office he pledged to reduced the north/south divide. This scandal is yet another betrayal of that stated intent. However, this time it is an undermining of the literary foundation of England. Carnegie must be pirouetting in his grave.