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Former Mayor speaks up for libraries

LUTFUR RAHMAN, former Directly Elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has spoken out to support the borough’s libraries and Ideas Stores – the latest service under threat of closure by Tower Hamlets Council.

Lutfur Rahman posted a statement on his Facebook page commenting on the degree of support he had given the library service when he was in charge of the Council. He wrote passionately about how libraries are a vital tool in tackling inequality in the borough, by providing facilities to help young people study. He also called on residents to complete the Council consultation on the closure proposals.

The consultation paper on the Council’s website makes it clear that the Council, under Executive Mayor John Biggs, is proposing to close or reduce opening hours at Ideas Stores and/or libraries to try to save money.  The aim is to save £1.6 million a year.

As with many previous Council consultations in the John Biggs Administration, the consultation restricted to which cuts the public prefers to see.  There is no option to keep the libraries open by using money elsewhere in the budget.  As the Council officers’ consultation document says:
“The option to keep services as they are and not make savings was not recommended as this would result in a budget shortfall for the service as well as placing the burden of identifying additional savings on other front line services.”

However, there should be space in the survey for residents to add comments suggesting cuts be found elsewhere if they wish. Residents who have had problems logging in to use the consultation system can telephone 020-7364 0237 to give their views.

To read Lutfur Rahman’s statement on supporting libraries, go to:
Lutfur Rahman statement on libraries

To read the Council consultation on which services you wish to cut and/or to respond (deadline: 5pm, 29th January) go to:
Council cuts to library service

●Read more about it:
Bethnal Green Library to close for refurbishment
John Biggs: he’s not speaking our language

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