Greens in Bristol are welcoming the news that, following conversations with Daniella Radice (Green Party Councillor for Bishopston and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods), the Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson has announced a freeze on proposals that could lead to the closure of 7 libraries across the city.
Mayor George Ferguson said: “We don’t even have firm plans yet, but already we’ve seen a tremendous strength of feeling and a desire for community involvement when it comes to local libraries. On one hand this is very encouraging as it means people are more likely to be part of the solution, but on the other hand it drives home that we absolutely need enough time to reduce any risk to libraries and make a success of people’s good ideas.”
Following a public consultation. Libraries in Westbury-on-Trym, Redland, Marksbury Road, Eastville, Clifton, Wick Road, Brislington, and Sea Mills were all put at risk of closure in the cabinet report by officers at Bristol City Council.
Daniella has reacted with disappointment to accusations from Liberal Democrat and Conservative MP’s and Councillors that the proposals came from her.
Daniella said; “The budget cuts imposed as part of the Lib Dem-Tory coalition’s austerity agenda mean local government is facing huge challenges just to keep services running. This was the context in which officers produced the report on the future of Bristol’s library service. Like many of the residents I have spoken to, I want a well-resourced library service in this city. In short, I want more money for libraries. Libraries are the cornerstone of a society that recognises thevalue of free learning for all. I have never proposed library closures. I am opposed to library closures and I will fight alongside my party to stop them.”
Darren Hall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West said; “Whilst the coalition government continue to pursue ideologically driven cuts at national level, their councillors recoil when they see the impact on their local communities. A future Tory government will cut a further £25 billion from public expenditure. Labour have signed up to the same spending plans. Neither has said it will invest more in local government. Trying to redirect blame for the cuts onto those who are most fiercely resisting them is the kind of cynical and disingenuous politics that is driving people away from the old parties.”