We have heard today that the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the County Council have ‘called-in’ (formally challenged) the Administration’s decision-making on library cuts.
See press release from the Liberal Democrat group below:
LIBRARY CUTS CHALLENGED
The cabinet decision to close library services in Gloucestershire is subject to constitutional challenge.
Liberal Democrat county councillors have issued a constitutional challenge to the cabinet’s decision on Library Services. The ‘call-in’ of the Conservative administration decision for library cuts requires answers about how and why the decisions have been made. The new Library Service Policy is now delayed until the council has given public answers to justify their decision.
The council must explain that decisions were made taking into account the issues of the legal status of the new library policy. The library policy must be fair to residents across the county and include properly considered plans for the future.
Statement by Cllr Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group:
“With reckless abandon the Tories at Shire Hall are destroying the county’s library service. That is why the Liberal Democrat group has called-in the library plans approved by the Tory cabinet on the 2nd of February.
The business planning behind the proposals is woeful, and many communities in Gloucestershire will suffer from the loss of their library because of political dogma and incompetence. Communities are being treated differently with some communities retaining their library for six days a week whilst others with an equal sized population are getting a just few hours, run by volunteers or closed.
Our call-in challenges the administration to prove their case and to answer fundamental questions about fairness and legality.”
The ‘call-in’ will be considered at an extraordinary meeting of the GCC Overview and Scrutiny Committee this Monday evening (February 14th). The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6:30pm at Shire Hall.
We welcome this challenge. Supporters of our campaign have always had severe doubts about the fairness, workability and legality of the plans for our library service, and Councillors supporting these cuts have been unable or unwilling to answer our questions. We hope that the forthcoming scrutiny meeting resulting from this challenge finally compels them to do so.