Vaizey says no to Newcastle library inquiry

Vaizey says no to Newcastle library inquiry

Ed Vaizey has confirmed that there will not be an inquiry into library closures in Newcastle, where 10 of the council's 18 libraries were handed over to volunteers.

In a letter from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport sent to the Newcastle City Council (NCC), Vaizey said that despite a representation from a member of the public complaining about the changes, he would not be ordering an inquiry.

The letter states: "The Secretary of State’s duty is one of superintendence and not every change in library provision will justify a costly local inquiry and the uncertainty that can result. In the present case, the Secretary of State’s view is that an inquiry is not appropriate at this stage…  The Secretary of State is satisfied that NCC has given careful thought to ensuring that library services continue to be available to users on an efficient and accessible basis, explained and justified its proposals and acted within the proper bounds of its discretion as the democratically accountable local representatives."

Last month, Vaizey also wrote to Lincolnshire County Council to inform it that he was not minded to intervene in proposed cuts happening there.

Campaigners in the county are now seeking a second judicial review into the cuts, after a previous review successfully forced the council to reconsider its plans.

The Speak up for Libraries coalition is urging members of the public to make libraries an issue in the forthcoming general election.