Sefton Libraries – With elections coming up its time for Labour-run Sefton to say why they stopped volunteers from running closing libraries

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-31208967

The article above on the BBC web site shows yet again why volunteers in Sefton should have been given the chance to run the libraries that our Labour-run council had decided to close. In the case above – accessible via the link – it is a Tory run Council but interestingly Labour’s Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant is not condemning them for putting the libraries under the control of volunteers. So opposing volunteers running libraries is clearly not a national Labour policy.

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton's Libraries

Lib Dems fighting for Sefton’s Libraries

All we really know about Sefton Labour’s anti-volunteer vote is that they said they did not want volunteers to run the libraries. They have never made a coherent argument for adopting this stance but they did hide behind a Sefton Council-made process via which the volunteers allegedly did not pass go so to speak.

There were two very credible bids from volunteer groups to run Aintree and College Road (Crosby) Libraries; both were told to sling their hooks.

Come on Labour let’s hear from you saying clearly why you opposed giving volunteers a chance. Do you just oppose library volunteers or is your policy one of opposing volunteers helping to run council services generally? If its just that you have a problem with library volunteers why is that?

Liverpool saves its libraries, so why did Sefton close its libraries?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-29985668

The BBC has the story – see link above

Having worked with campaigners across the Borough of Sefton who were trying to stop the closure of many branch libraries I am left scratching my head. Why can Labour-run Liverpool City Council save its libraries from closure whilst in neighbouring Sefton Borough not only did the Labour-run Council close more than half of its libraries but it also stopped volunteers from running closed libraries too.

Sadly this placard could also read 'NO' to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

Sadly this placard could also read ‘NO’ to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

I realise that Liverpool Labour Mayor Joe Anderson was put under a great deal of pressure in Liverpool, not least by Liverpool Lib Dems and Liverpool residents, to back-off from his closure plans but that sort of pressure was also put on Sefton Council’s Labour rulers.

We all know that Council’s are short of money these days but if you can keep a strong and vibrant library network in Liverpool you can surely keep one in next door Sefton.

And for joyful reactions to the saving of Liverpool’s libraries see this link to the Liverpool Echo site:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/pictures-liverpool-users-react-news-8086020

Library closures in Liverpool – Let’s hope those wanting to save them are given the chance to do so

Remember Sefton Council going through this process and how badly I said it treated volunteers wishing to take over College Road Library (Crosby) and Aintree Library?

/www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/proposals-rescue-liverpool-libraries-come-7906866

The Liverpool Echo has the story (see link above) of how folks are trying to save Liverpool’s threatened libraries.

Sadly this placard could also read 'NO' to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

Sadly this placard could also read ‘NO’ to volunteers taking over Aintree Library!

I hope Liverpool’s elected Mayor Joe Anderson has more confidence in volunteers wanting to take over libraries than Sefton Labour did when they dismissed the volunteer bids in an appalling way.

Why are Sefton’s Labour councillors not campaigning for the communities that elected them?

In the south of the Sefton Borough Aintree, College Road, Litherland & Orrell Libraries have all been shut down by Labour-run Sefton Council as part of its savings drive. All these closures have been in wards with at least one Labour member yet Labour councillors have, as far as I know, been at best distant from the community campaign groups trying to find a sustainable way forward for the libraries. 3 more libraries have also been closed by Labour in Southport wards where there are no Labour councillors.

We all knew the Council needed to save money but to close libraries was Labour’s choice. However, when community bids came in to run Aintree and College Road Libraries, using volunteer help, what on earth made Labour councillors rejected those bids?

Lib Dems fighting for Aintree Library

Lib Dem campaigners fighting for the Libraries that Labour shut. Labour even stopped volunteers from reopening two libraries!

Then there’s the Green Belt. In Maghull, Lydiate, Formby, Thornton & Southport (which, as noted above, does not have any socialist councillors) community campaigns are trying to stop the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land from being concreted over. Sadly, it is Labour-run Sefton Council that is proposing to allow the building.

A petition being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council next to a threatened Green Belt development site.

A petition being presented to Cllr. Dave Russell Chairman of Lydiate Parish Council next to a threatened Green Belt development site.

And what about the Green Bin tax that Labour wanted to impose on Sefton residents. That needed a huge community reaction (and the loss of two Labour council seats in Maghull) to make Labour back off but they have only deferred the imposition of this local tax and we await them trying again to impose it.

A green bin mountain, Cllr. Bruce Hubbard, and a huge pile of petitions opposing Labour's Green Bill tax for Sefton.

A green bin mountain, Cllr. Bruce Hubbard, and a huge pile of petitions opposing Labour’s Green Bin tax for Sefton.

Libraries, Green Belt and the Green Bin tax are massive community issues yet Labour councillors are not standing with the residents who elected them, indeed they seem firmly stood against residents.

Sefton Council – 2% tax rise, another rejection of community-run libraries and Green Belt wobble amongst a lot of socialist tub thumping

Sefton’s budget meeting was last night and Labour has imposed a 1.99% tax rise on the hard pressed Council tax payers of the Borough, which we Lib Dems opposed.

Labour also slapped down Lib Dem proposals that would have seen comunity-run libraries take over many of the former library buildings that sit redundant after Labour’s closure programme.

Oddly and despite there being nothing on the agenda about the Local Plan and building on Green Belt land Labour got hot under the collar about their own plans to press ahead with such building.

All this was amongst a number of tub-thumping socialist speeches from Labour members some of which would not have been out of place in Liverpool City Council’s chamber during the Militant era. Indeed, Sefton Labour seem unable to grasp that their party nationally is promising more and bigger welfare cuts whilst sticking to Coalition spending plans! In Sefton Labour’s world they delude themselves into thinking that Ed Balls is marching them towards a socialist state of common ownership!

These are the headlines – more to follow.