Sefton Labour votes down £80,000 Community Libraries rescue plan

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Sefton Labour votes down £80,000 Community Libraries rescue plan

Last night’s Sefton Council Budget Council meeting held at Bootle Town Hall saw a Lib Dem move to provide £80,000 of support to enable three Community Libraries to reopen voted down by the controlling Labour Group.

In recent months Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown Libraries in Southport have closed, as well as Aintree and Crosby Carnegie Libraries further afield.

In an effort to gain support from the 6 Labour councillors representing the Aintree and Crosby areas, last night the Lib Dems first moved an amendment to provide financial support to Aintree, Birkdale and Crosby Carnegie Libraries.  Although the Conservatives supported the Lib Dems their combined votes were not enough to outvote Labour.

Southport’s Lib Dem councillors Sue McGuire and Simon Shaw then moved a further amendment which would have provided funding to Community Libraries in Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown.  Again this was defeated by Labour.

Cllr McGuire explained that the figures in the proposal had been vetted by council finance officers: “For around just £27,000 a year per library our proposal would cover the premises costs of the Community Libraries as well as paying for a part-time post in the Libraries Service to provide admin and operational support to the volunteer-run organizations.”

Cllr Shaw said he was amazed that Labour councillors representing the Aintree and Crosby areas were unwilling to stand up for their constituents.

“For nearly two years Sefton Council has been controlled by the Bootle Labour Cabinet, and we have ended up with Southport seeing three of its four libraries shut.  In contrast three libraries in the Bootle constituency stay open.  And now they won’t even support volunteer-run Community Libraries which would cost a mere fraction of the Council-run branch libraries.”

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