Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sir Edward Leigh MP Protests Library Cuts

Sir Edward Leigh, the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has protested the scale of cuts to libraries in Lincolnshire. Writing to Lincolnshire County Council, the MP called local libraries “an absolutely vital local resource” and said they “inculcate in the young a sense of the adventure of learning and provide access to new avenues of knowledge for them to explore”.
“No one disagrees with the need for savings to be found and for cuts to be made.
“But it is necessary we in Lincolnshire think about the long term. If we close too many libraries now we are ending a long and organic tradition that has been cultivated for generations. When prosperity returns, it will be much more difficult to restart these libraries and the services they provided, especially if property is sold off to become residential or commercial units.
“I’m sure an analysis of the long-term costs and benefits would show that it would be immensely wiser to make cuts elsewhere in budget and keep as many of these libraries open as possible rather than to cut off innumerable future generations from the immeasurable benefits of a local library.”
Sir Edward also pointed out that the County Council could be more pro-active in finding solutions for libraries to remain open, citing the case of Nettleham where the parish council have sought a minimum five-year lease in exchange for operating their local library, but have been turned down.
“Nettleham Parish Council are being perfectly reasonable in their demands, and they deserve a much more favourable reaction from the County Council.”
The Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign has sought judicial review from the High Court regarding the County Council’s libraries plan.

Cllr. Giles McNeill, Conservative (Nettleham Ward), and a member of Nettleham Parish Council, said:
“I welcome Sir Edward's intervention. The way the Parish Council and the local community are being treated by Lincolnshire County Council is not what I would expect. Cllr. Nick Worth, who is the portfolio holder at Lincolnshire County Council with responsibilities for the library service, should re-consider his intransigent position. Surely we both want the same thing. Nettleham Library to remain open, run by community volunteers.”

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