Last Friday I was invited to meet with the Save Hanham Library group to talk about the reduction in hours and other issues.
Libraries are vital for a thriving community.
As well as engaging young people with reading, and providing access to books, they act as an important facility for the whole community, whether to access IT facilities, or meet up. Librarians are also qualified professionals, and are themselves knowledge hubs - this is an irreplaceable role which cannot be filled by volunteers, however well intentioned. A volunteer approach also results in a postcode lottery - with those areas with community champions able to continue these facilities, and others left behind.
One of the most challenging things as a councillor has been the choices that this conservative government are forcing Councils to make - social care alone will face a £2.6bn gap by 2020. And the expectation? That this comes out of ordinary working people's pockets through increases to the very regressive council tax.
I am standing for Parliament because these cuts to local government - to vital services our communities rely upon - can not continue. Local Council's should be empowered to deliver for their communities - South Gloucestershire Council recognises this but is expected to cut £40m by 2020: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/…/Council-savings-programme-inf… - this is unsustainable.
I fully support the Hanham library group, and if elected, will work with them to ensure the long term future of our libraries and community spaces.