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Lib Dems launch petition against proposed library cuts

York Central Library and (inset) Cllr Andrew Hollyer <i>(Image: Newsquest and Lib Dems)</i>
York Central Library and (inset) Cllr Andrew Hollyer (Image: Newsquest and Lib Dems)

A would-be MP for York has joined calls for the city’s ruling councillors to stop proposed library cuts.

The Labour-run council is proposing to reduce the authority’s funding for Explore York, which runs the city’s libraries and archive service, by £300,000 a year for two years.

Explore York’s directors say it has a 15-year contract with the council that does not allow councillors to reduce the funding unilaterally.  A statement issued on behalf of the directors repeated a pledge not to close any library.

Now  Cllr Andrew Hollyer, the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for  York Outer, has launched a petition calling on the council to rethink its proposals.

He said: “We have just five weeks to mobilise York to save our libraries from these destructive cuts.

“At February’s Budget Council meeting, I will present the petition calling for a rethink of these proposals. We need as many residents as possible to sign – even if you’re not currently a library user yourself, many find them invaluable in later years and when raising children.

"York's 15 local libraries are a key part of what makes York such a great place to live. York bucked the national trend of short-sighted library closure – we can’t let the Council undo a decades long fight to protect York’s libraries.”

Labour says it needs to reduce library funding as part of efforts to plug a £40m hole in the council’s budgets.

Explore York is an independent mutual society owned by the people of York and is separate from the council.   It was set up by a previous Labour administration.