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Jan 06 2015

Susan Says: Library Closures Will Leave Vulnerable Residents Isolated

susan_hall_leaderHarrow Council’s Conservative Group has warned that vulnerable residents risk becoming increasingly isolated, if the Council’s Labour administration presses ahead with proposals to close four of the borough’s 10 libraries. It comes after nearly 2,500 residents signed a petition against the closure of Bob Lawrence library in Edgware – calling it a ‘social hub’ used by people of all ages, races and incomes. The proposal to close the four libraries comes despite the administration re-recruiting the previous Chief Executive to his former role, at a salary of over £160,000 a year!

Cllr. Susan Hall, Leader of the Conservative Group said: “I think the Bob Lawrence petitioners have done a fantastic job, not only in terms of getting signatures from local residents, but in making the case for protecting our libraries. Libraries are a vital community resource for all sorts of reasons, and for a hugely broad spectrum of Harrow’s population, and our worry is that the people who rely on them the most will be left isolated if they close.”

Cllr. Hall explained: “The Council is encouraging residents to do more and more things online – whether it’s paying parking tickets and council tax, or reporting missed bins and potholes. In fact, Labour are planning to cut £600,000 out of the call centre over the next 4 years as part of their efforts to get more people online. However, not everyone has their own computer or Internet access, and many rely on libraries when they do need to go online. Given these tend to be people looking for work, those on lower incomes or the elderly, we are most concerned that closing libraries will leave these people cut off.”

Cllr. Hall concluded: “What’s most disappointing is that Labour actually knew this would happen. Their own budget papers justify the call centre cuts on the grounds that residents can make use of libraries if they don’t have Internet access at home, but of course that’s of no use if their library is closed down, too!”

 

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1 comment

  1. Farah

    The residents who are local to Bob Lawrence Library cannot afford personal computers or internet facilities. So moving more items to online facilities is irrelevant to this community.

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