Maria Miller, the newly-appointed secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has continued the policies of predecessor Jeremy Hunt and decided not to hold an inquiry into Brent library closures.
In a letter released by the DCMS yesterday (September 16th), she laid out the reasons for not holding an inquiry in the London borough where six out of 12 libraries have been closed. This includes Kensal Rise Library, which has seen a passionate campaign from local residents trying to save the building, and re-open it as a community-run facility.
Miller said that the closed libraries were the least used and represented 20% of library usage in the borough, and noted that opening hours at the remaining libraries had risen.
She said: “My view is that decisions about local issues should ordinarily be taken by democratically elected local representatives accountable to local voters.”
She also noted that: “too ready an intervention would risk preventing or discouraging prompt and efficient reforms of library services.”
Earlier this month, fellow minister Ed Vaizey said that he was not minded to hold inquiries into library closures in Bolton, the Isle of Wight, and Lewisham. At a parliamentary debate last week, he said that inquiries could not be held “willy-nilly”.