Communities worse off after £1.8m library cuts approved

THE loss of library services will leave isolated communities even worse off, a councillor has said.

Coun David Hall (Con, Liversedge & Gomersal) hit out after £1.8m of cuts were approved on Tuesday.

His own ward has no library and some residents rely on the mobile service, which is being axed.

The library in Thornhill Lees, considered a deprived area in a council report, will shut by April 1 next year.

Kirklees Tory deputy leader Coun Hall said: “Yet again those communities outside the town centres are having their services slashed.

“The mobile service is so valuable to many people, particularly the elderly, who otherwise can’t gain access to a library.

“One of the council’s stated priorities is to reduce social isolation and this decision flies in the face of that aim.”

Under the plan, libraries in Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike and Mirfield all stay open.

Coun Hall said: “Many of the existing libraries will see their opening hours cut drastically and will rely on volunteers to keep going.

“Labour doesn’t have a coherent plan, either to encourage or sustain volunteering on the necessary scale.”

In defending the changes, cabinet member for resources Coun Graham Turner blamed Government cuts.

He said: “No-one likes to remove services. But this is the best possible outcome from the budget we have.

“The reality is while we have a government that doesn’t believe in public services, we’ll have to make very difficult decisions.”

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