Brent and Harrow
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Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

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Libraries are Community Hubs

As the move towards the proposed closure of Brent’s six libraries continues, I would like to make my position clear.


The Cuts

It is entirely due to the Tory and LibDem Coalition Government’s ill-conceived and

savage imposition of cuts that local authorities across the UK have been placed in an

impossible position of having to make stringent – often unpalatable cuts. This is

clearly putting local authorities such as Brent Council in an extremely difficult position

of having to make tough choices. Brent Council faces a staggering £60million worth

of cuts next year alone. But as a responsible authority Brent is committed to protect

frontline services from the cuts forced upon it by an uncaring Government.



Since libraries across the country have come under pressure to close, I and my

London Assembly colleagues have been lobbying Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

We have asked him to help Councils in London who are faced with the decision of

closing of libraries. Unfortunately the Mayor’s announcement launching the ‘Libraries

Trust’ earlier this year has come to nothing.


My view

I’ve always seen libraries as community hubs. As a senior Councillor in Harrow I

have demonstrated this by ensuring libraries are not closed, by removing the Tory

threat of privatisation and as promised, restored the Sunday opening of central library

which was closed by the previous Tory administration.


I’m not a Brent Councillor so as such have no powers or vote on Brent Council.

Brent has been placed in an impossible position by the stringent cuts worth

£60million next year alone imposed by the Tory and LibDem Government.


I do not envy any elected members or officers who have been placed in this

position. I have been talking to Brent’s Councillors expressing my concerns about the

library closures and equally having regular dialogue with lobby groups opposed to the

plan for closures. I’ve offered to work with Brent’s SOS Libraries campaign to explore

viable schemes to keep the libraries open.


As the Assembly Member for Brent together with my Assembly colleagues I’ve

quizzed the London Mayor about his plans to set up a ‘Libraries Trust’ to safeguard

London's library services and asked him about his commitment to work with London

Council’s on this. So far Londoners have had nothing more than rhetoric from the


Permanent link to this article
22nd November 2011