Leader slams library cuts

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has slammed Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies over a decision to close Denaby Library.

The library, and another one at Carcroft, will close on November 1 and volunteers are being sought to run 12 others as the council seeks to make savings.

Council funding has been withdrawn from 14 of the 26 libraries in Doncaster.

Mr Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, said parts of his constituency will “soon be left with only a mobile library service” and the dozen volunteer-run libraries “face an uncertain future.”

He added: “Libraries provide a valuable service for communities – but Mayor Davies’ plans mean, in many cases, the communities themselves will now need to find the cash and resources to run that service.”

Mr Miliband’s comments come a week after Doncaster Group Labour leader Sandra Holland accused Mayor Davies of gagging her and members of the public who wanted to speak out about the cuts.

Councillor Holland claimed he used his executive powers to deem that no-one could speak at a council meeting to discuss the issue apart from members of his own cabinet.

She said: “I think it is outrageous that he would not let me speak on behalf of Doncaster residents who want to see their libraries remain open.”

She added volunteers should not be used to replace a public service.

But Mayor Davies has defended the move, claiming it will save the council £1.2 million a year.

He said: “I do not pretend that this is an ideal situation, however we are living in the real world where political decisions have to be taken and we need real solutions when it comes to saving money.

“There has been ample opportunity for councillors to feedback alternative suggestions on where council expenditure should be saved and so far none have been forthcoming.”