MP tries to bring library cuts to book

ONE of North Yorkshire's MPs has launched an online petition to prevent library closures which he claims will erode key services for the community.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has launched the internet campaign to keep Bilton and Starbeck libraries open.

North Yorkshire County Council is enforcing a programme of financial savings to counter a huge fall in Government funding which could see as many as 23 of the authority's 42 libraries closed.

Mr Jones said: "Libraries are at the heart of our community and act as a hub for our local groups. They are simply too important to lose."

He urged the council to focus first on cutting bureaucracy and back office operations before hitting front-line services.

The council is faced with cutting 2.3m from its existing annual library budget of 7.5m over the next two years.

Senior councillors have stressed that communities need to step in to run their local libraries – or face losing them.

The online petitions are available at www.petition.co.uk. Paper copies are also available by calling 01423 529614.