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Vaizey and Hodge clash over library future
09.02.10 | Benedicte Page
The war of words between culture minister Margaret Hodge and her Tory shadow Ed Vaizey has intensified, following Vaizey's speech on libaries to the Society of Bookmen last week.
In his speech, Vaizey said it was "outrageous and offensive to everyone who ever cared about books and reading" for Hodge to raise the question of whether libraries should remain a statutory local authority service, in the latest consultation document for the Library Modernisation Review, titled "Empower, Inform, Enrich". "This proposal would put the future of every public library in the country under threat," Vaizey said.
But Hodge has now hit back, accusing her Tory counterpart of misleading the public. She said: "It's pathetic that the only contribution Ed Vaizey can make to an important review is to mislead people. We have consulted on how to improve the regulations. We have absolutely no plans to change the requirements for local authorities to provide libraries. The consultation document looks at all the issues around libraries - including statutory obligations - as the public would expect. This is about improving the statutory framework."
Question 20 of the consultation asks if it is important that libraries remain a statutory obligation for local authorities.