Edgbaston Conservatives have a had a busy day across the constituency today – spreading the word that our libraries are NOT closing.
Our Labour MP recently sent out a letter which stated that “the libraries in our constituency are now under real threat of closure”. She then stated that she wanted to save them and added “We will work with anyone and any party who shares our goal.”
Work with us? She didn’t even bother to talk to us! She hasn’t spoken to me – despite the fact that the Conservatives are actually in control of the District Committee which runs the libraries. You would have thought she might have done that first, to find out the facts, before rushing out with a message that the libraries were under “real threat of closure” and that a campaign was needed to “save all three libraries in the Edgbaston constituency”.
Because the fact is, that once we saw the budget and the level of savings we need to make in our District, the Conservatives Councillors who run the District knew that we would not need to close our libraries. We can, and we will, make the savings which are required of us, from elsewhere in the budget. We said so very plainly to the Labour Councillors at the meeting we held to discuss it. I also repeated it in the Council Chamber at the December meeting.
But of course people who received the letter from the Labour MP, not surprisingly have been going in to our libraries, asking staff if they were closing, which must have been very distressing for them – especially at Christmas.
Edgbaston Ward doesn’t have a library, but our residents use both Quinborne and Harborne libraries, so today Cllr Fergus Robinson and I joined Quinton campaigner Ian Colpman at Quinborne to explain to visitors to the library that it was not closing. Harborne Conservatives were doing the same at the Farmer’s Market, and last week they were at Harborne Library with the same message.
PS Harborne Pool & Leisure Centre is not under threat of closure either, because the Conservatives running Edgbaston had the foresight to rebuild it several years ago and bring in a private provider to run it – which has secured its future in these difficult financial times.