Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Moray Libraries U-turn is bitter-sweet say SNP Councillors

Opposition SNP Councillors say today’s u-turn by Independent and Tory Administration Councillors on library closures is a bittersweet moment with three of the original seven libraries to be closed now being saved.

SNP Councillors have been full square behind the retention of all libraries, which are very much the front desk of the Council’s services in their communities.

At Wednesday's meeting of The Moray Council Opposition SNP Spokesperson Mike Shand, seconded by Speyside Glenlivet Councillor Mike McConachie put forward a motion to stop the closure of all seven libraries that were under threat.

However, following debate and a vote, the Council’s Independent and Tory Administration pushed through by only one vote a reduced proposal from their original plan which will see four of the original seven under threat now closed.

Speaking after the debate Cllr Mike Shand said:

“The SNP has been absolutely clear on the importance of our libraries right from the start when the closures were first proposed during the Council’s budget in February.

"The closures are nothing short of destruction of well performing services at the heart of communities.

“Library campaigners in Moray have shown a tremendous spirit and unity of purpose. They have fought the library closures tooth and nail and while they have succeeded in making the Independent and Tory Administration think again on the closures it remains bittersweet with four of the original seven still set for closure.

“The situation for libraries in Moray is better than it was before the debate but we are still losing valuable community assets in a short-sighted move from a Council Administration that does not carry the same values as the communities they represent.”

Cllr Mike McConachie added:

“Three of our communities in Moray have been spared the loss of their libraries, which is a partial victory, but four of our communities will still be losing a much loved service which has been respected across Scotland as being one of the best.

“The choices being made by the Independent and Tory Administration on The Moray Council are ill-considered with the Council’s Leader telling us that so-called ‘salami slicing’ of services rather than a strategic set of priorities is somehow a good thing.

“There will be many people upset today in the four communities losing their libraries and the three communities that have had their libraries saved will have mixed feelings at seeing their own service saved but not those of the friends they have campaigned shoulder to shoulder with in recent weeks.”
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