Conservatives pledge to keep all libraries open

Batley Library. (d512c430)

Batley Library. (d512c430)

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Saving Kirklees’ libraries and cutting other spending will be a cornerstone of Conservative Party’s budget proposals.

Conservative group leader Coun Robert Light (Birstall) said the party would propose reinstating the same amount of money into the service for the next three years and cutting costs elsewhere.

He said: “Labour’s plans amount to a decimation of our library service and the willful destruction of many activities within our local communities.

“We propose to reinstate the funding to keep our libraries open and our mobile libraries running.

“We are very keen for the council to work with local communities to ensure that libraries remain and that the best use is put to our community buildings.”

Coun Light said the savings required to keep all libraries open under Conservative proposals would include moving Huddersfield Library to a more cost-effective location in the town’s centre.

Further savings would be made be cutting the amount of mileage that can be claimed by council officers from 63p per mile to 45p.

The budget for trade union officials paid by the council would also be cut.

He said the way that libraries are run would change over the next few years but that maintaining library funding would mean the proposed 60 or 100 redundancies at the service would not be necessary.

“All the money will go back into the service so there would be no need for redundancies to be made,” he said.

And the party wanted to hand running of libraries over to Kirklees’ four district committees, which are made of councillors from local wards.

“We will give real power back to communities,” he said.