Bristol City Council have missed yet another chance to save Westbury Library, says Liberal Democrat councillor Clare Campion-Smith, who criticised Mayor Rees’ “cavalier attitude” to our libraries in her budget speech.
In our budget feature, we outline the Liberal Democrat amendment to the city council budget – “a get out of jail free card”, says Clare. This amendment aimed to put money back into the city’s services – including parks, libraries and social care.
With half a million pounds extra for our libraries, many could have been saved, including Westbury Library. An extra £750,000 for parks would have softened the blow for Canford Park and other parks and green spaces across the city. More money for adaptations would have enabled many older people to stay in their own homes, rather than having to go into expensive care.
At the full Council meeting on 20th February, the Lib Dem amendment was supported by other parties, but voted down by the Labour majority.
Labour chose to borrow an unnecessary £50 million, which they intend to put aside – for unspecified contingencies – thus increasing the city's debt, while slashing services for Bristol's residents.
Liberal Democrat Campaigner, Graham Donald adds, “The Mayor was given a lifeline to save our libraries – with Government money for a review to devise new ways of running the service and keep more libraries open. He and his cabinet rejected this opportunity.
“Now, he has had a second chance, but he has blown it. Instead, he and Bristol Labour Party have chosen political posturing over the needs of residents. Services people rely on have been sacrificed so Bristol socialists can make political points.”