LIB DEM LIBRARY HYPOCRISY

LIB DEM LIBRARY HYPOCRISY

Local SNP politicians have criticised the decision by East Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust to close three libraries in Lenzie, Milton of Campsie and Westerton.
 

There are five councillors within the board of ED Leisure and Culture Trust.

 

Councillor Susan Murray (Lib Dem) supported the closures, Councillors Gillian Renwick (SNP) and Jim Gibbons (SNP) opposed the closures, Councillor Sheila Mechan (Conservative) abstained and Councillor Stewart MacDonald (Labour) was not at the meeting.

 

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has written to the Head of Leisure Trust Mark Grant and Chief Executive to ask why and how the decision was reached and what the next step in the process is. She has also written to the Chief Executive of East Dunbartonshire Council to ask what their role is I the closures and if this decision can be vetoed.

 

Ms Mackay said: “I am shocked and angry at this decision. Public libraries are a vital part of the community and provide a necessary facility. To close libraries at a time when we are encouraging children to read more, and more people will need to access them to use the internet to claim Universal Credit benefits, is simply madness.

 

“The local Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson has remained silent over the closures of the libraries in Westerton and Lenzie. This week she even had the nerve to pose for a picture inside Bearsden Library discussing what local services they provide while refusing to speak out again closures in other areas of East Dunbartonshire, one of which is Westerton in Bearsden. I challenge Ms Swinson to speak to her local councillor who voted for these closures and stand up for her constituents.

 

“This is a disgrace. I will do everything in my power to keep these libraries open and to persuade the Leisure Trust to think again. I hope other local politicians do the same.”

 

The SNP group’s members on the Trust, Councillor Gillian Renwick and Councillor Jim Gibbons voted against the closures, but were voted down. They then put up an amendment by way of compromise to suggest reduced opening hours, but this was again voted down by opposition Councillors and lay board members.

 

Stuart McDonald MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East added: “The local library is a hugely valued service, and I know the proposed closure has caused considerable anger in Milton of Campsie. Libraries have a really important role in terms of promoting reading, providing public information, and tackling social isolation and can also be really important in early years education. And with the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit more people are requiring the use of libraries and the computing and internet facilities offered there.

 

“So this is a short sighted decision, and we need to do all we can to try to reverse it. I hope everyone will contact their local councillors to make their views known.”

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