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Hypocrisy claims over bid to get closed libraries reopened in Brent

PUBLISHED: 15:28 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:43 28 January 2014

Brent Lib Dems have pledged to reopen closed libraries

Brent Lib Dems have pledged to reopen closed libraries

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Calls by opposition councillors to re-open closed libraries in the borough were quashed during a heated debate.

Cllr Paul Lorber is the leader of the Brent Lib DemsCllr Paul Lorber is the leader of the Brent Lib Dems

Calls by opposition councillors to re-open closed libraries in the borough were quashed during a heated debate.

Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of the Brent Lib Dems, lobbied Brent Council last week to re-open the six branches which were closed in 2011.

Half the borough’s branches were closed despite 80 per cent of respondents to a public consultation being against the plans.

However Cllr Lorber’s request was dismissed by the Labour administration which axed Barham, Cricklewood, Preston, Neasden, Kensal Rise and Tokyngton libraries to save £1million.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari has accused of the Lib Dems of hypocrisyCllr Roxanne Mashari has accused of the Lib Dems of hypocrisy

Cllr Lorber, who has pledged to re-open the branches if his party wins the Council Election in May, said: “Labour councillors would rather ignore local people’s views than admit they were wrong.

“The council spends around a quarter of a billion pounds each year yet Labour refuses to find the relatively small amount of money needed to give us back our libraries.”

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, accused the Lib Dems of hypocrisy, claiming the coalition government cuts forced the council to close the libraries.

She added: “Just like Nick Clegg’s broken promise to scrap tuition fees, the local Lib Dems’ plan to reopen libraries is opportunistic, unrealistic and deeply irresponsible. It would cost over three times as much as they claim.

“By introducing seven day a week opening, extended opening hours, free Wi-Fi, iPads and new stock including online magazines and DVDs, Brent’s Labour-run council has bucked national trends and increased the number of residents making use of our fantastic local libraries.”

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