Library cutbacks 'a political point'

An MP has accused Bradford Council of cutting library services to make a political point.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said there was no reason why the Labour-led authority needed to close five libraries across the district when it was receiving a similar grant to previous years when libraries were kept open.

Councillors voted for cuts to services at their budget meeting, including closing the five least-used libraries in the district: Addingham, Denholme, Heaton, Wilsden and Wrose.

Speaking in the Commons Mr Davies said: "Labour-run Bradford Council proposes to close Wrose, Denholme and Wilsden libraries in my constituency.

Does the Government agree that if a Conservative-led Bradford Council could afford to keep those libraries open a few years ago, with the same grant as Bradford receives now from the Government, Labour-run Bradford Council should be able to afford to do so, too?"

Libraries Minister Ed Vaizey said: "It would be wrong of me to comment on specific proposals, but I am sure that Bradford City Council will want to consult extensively with local people."

Mr Davies said: "I fear the Council is making emotive cuts to make political points about the Government and that is not the duty of a council."

Labour councils have come under fire in recent weeks for seemingly cutting more jobs than Tory and Lib Dem councils as part of the 27 per cent cuts in Whitehall grants.