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Row over Lancashire library service budget cuts
LANCASHIRE has suffered the biggest cuts to library service in the country, according to a study by the Labour Party.
But although county hall bosses said they can’t quibble about the figures, they refute the 'misleading interpretation' and are considering legal action.
Since 2009/10, the County Council has cut £5.1million from the library budget - down from £22.2million to an estimate of £17.1million this year. Eight of the top 10 councils for library cuts are Conservative run.
Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: "With one in three children without a book at home, it is worrying that the Government is overseeing a postcode lottery in library services. But these figures show Labour councils are far more likely to protect what libraries they can."
County Councillor Mike Calvert, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “While we do face tough economic times, none of the county’s 74 libraries have closed, and all front line services continue to be staffed appropriately.
“We have saved money through restructuring the library service in back offices, so that the public won’t be affected, and are actually investing £6.5million in refurbishing and regenerating the libraries.
“I think it’s outrageous that Labour are coming out with these things, it makes my blood boil."
County Council leader Coun Geoff Driver said: "I am astonished that the Labour Party could make such a statement. I don't think they are being malicious; I think they simply don't understand. Far from cutting library services, LCC has expanded and improved them.
"We have won national acclaim for our successful campaigns to increase library usage by all sections of the community and LCC's library service is now the envy of many other local authorities. Perhaps that is what is riling Labour."