Bid to overturn local libraries victory criticised

Following news that Batley & Spen’s four libraries have been saved from closure, the local Lib Dems have been accused of trying to tear up the council’s decision and put local libraries back at risk.

Cleckheaton library was, along with Batley, Heckmondwike and Birstall, one of the libraries threatened with closure that Labour councillors managed to save. Yet Cleckheaton’s three Lib Dem councillors, supported by others in their group, have backed a stunt that could see the whole decision unravel.

Lib Dem councillors have signed up to a ‘call in’ where a decision is brought back for scrutiny in a bid to reverse it.

Jo Cox MP, who helped fight to keep all of Batley and Spen’s libraries open, said: “From a starting point of considering closing all our libraries Kirklees Labour group and council officers have done the best job they could to protect as much of our library service as possible in the most difficult of financial circumstances.

“Attempts to derail this decision as part of a narrow political agenda is an insult to all those people who have campaigned to save our four local libraries.

“The other important thing to remember is that the library service is under threat and being reduced due to funding cuts approved by Tory and Lib Dem ministers when they were in coalition and the government’s failure to make proper, local library provision a statutory responsibility, with accompanying funding.”

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