Dear Sir / Madam
The most recent edition of the Willesden and Brent Times carried several articles and a letter criticising the council’s decision to close several libraries. This is the wrong target.
Nobody pointed out the enormous size of the Tory/Lib Dem cuts being faced by the Council. Everybody knows that the government is demanding an enormous cost to services, that it is legally in control regardless of what the council chooses to do, and that Labour councils like ours are facing far bigger cuts than Tory and Lib Dem councils elsewhere. That is what is really politically motivated.
Some might suggest that decisions to close libraries are a ‘political stunt’, but that effectively pretends that Brent’s grant has not been savaged, or there are millions worth of less essential services to cut. What else should Councillors do?
The reality is that at least one of Brent’s MPs has voted for the to legally impose the cuts, and that alternatives such as cutting youth services or those for the vulnerable and elderly are even more unpalatable than the library cuts we face. Good public libraries are very important indeed. Nobody wants to cut them, apart from George Osborne and those who support him. Forced into cuts, should the council cut local services for the disabled instead?
It is unfair not to compare the alternative local cuts the council would be forced into, and secondly unfair to let the government and Sarah Teather, cutting far far faster and deeper than they need to, get away completely without blame. The council are legally forced to carry out their decisions, and the Government is backed up by reserve legislation from the 1980s if councillors refuse.
For people to either pretend the national cuts are not happening, or to blame the Labour council for this completely misses the point.
For local Lib Dems to engage it is beyond shameful.
Britain could cut far more slowly if at all, and stop strangling us by concentrating cuts on boroughs like Brent. It could do both easily.
The problem is the Government. If we want local services like libraries, it must change course, or be kicked out.