Shadow culture minister condemns Lincolnshire library cuts

Shadow culture minister condemns Lincolnshire library cuts

The shadow culture minister has condemned library cuts in Lincolnshire, branding the plans as "disgraceful".

Helen Goodman visited Lincoln today (15th April) and met with campaigners, to discuss their fight against council's plan to close 29 of 44 libraries, unless they are taken over by volunteers.

Goodman said: "The Conservative-run Lincolnshire County Council action in closing three-quarters of libraries is disgraceful. Local libraries are central to our societies, offering a safe space for all. They are places where the unemployed can go to find job information, where children without computers can do their homework, and where social events for young and old take place. They are investments in our future through the communities they nurture and skills they foster."

As well as losing the libraries amid a £2m budget cut, the service in Lincolnshire will also see 170 jobs lost, the county's mobile library service cut by 100 stops, and school library budgets cut to zero.

Goodman said: "The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a legal duty to ensure that every local authority has a comprehensive and efficient library service. I have now written to the new Secretary of State demanding that he take action. Instead, his department is undertaking two reviews, even questioning the role of public libraries."

She added: "Labour is committed to avoiding a postcode lottery; maintaining a core professional service; and modernising and strengthening the role of libraries in the knowledge economy."

Campaigners in Lincolnshire have successfully applied for a judicial review into the council's decision. Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries at Lincolnshire County Council, defended the council's plans, and said: ""Under our plans, we’re likely to end up with more library provision than we have now, empowered communities and substantial savings."