Library campaigners face new hurdles

 

Library campaigners have called government plans to scrap equalities assessments and limit judicial reviews "devastating".

In a speech at the CBI on Monday (19th November), Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his intention to make judicial reviews harder to access, describing many as "completely pointless", and saying the time limit to bring cases should be reduced while cost is increased "so people think twice about time-wasting".

Many library campaigns designed to stop local authorities proceeding with cuts are based on judicial review on equalities grounds, such as the one brought by Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries which successfully limited the county council's plans.

Lauren Smith of Voices for the Library said: “It’s absolutely devastating. They are making it very difficult even to respond to their plans, but there are so many decisions that have been put on hold because campaigners have been able to use these methods.

"One of the best defences of libraries is showing how library closures have a big detriment on disabled people, elderly people and other vulnerable groups, and if equality assessments go, we will lose that defence."