Thomas Bridge 20 March 2015

Cameron voices ‘anger’ over Birmingham Library closure plan

David Cameron has expressed ‘anger’ over planned cuts to opening hours at Birmingham Library put forward by the city council.

Speaking in Downing Street, the Conservative prime minister said the site was currently being used as a ‘political tool’ in the campaign over local government finances.

Opened in 2013, the £189m library could see opening hours falling from 73 hours per week to just 40 under Birmingham City Council savings plans.

‘I am angry about Birmingham City Library, because it is a brilliant building,’ Cameron told the Birmingham Mail.

‘Every time I come into Birmingham it is glinting in the sunlight because of that wonderful metallic framework. It’s a wonderful iconic building but it’s not just a building, it’s providing vital services.

‘The vision behind it originally was it was going to be owned by a trust, and so it would be more independent of the council’s finances. I think it’s a shame that didn’t happen.

‘And now it is being used almost as a sort of political tool by Birmingham City Council to parade their campaign about finances,’ the prime minister added.

Cameron said the council had necessary resources and ‘plenty of potential financial firepower to deliver good services’ but needed ‘some root and branch reform to find greater efficiencies, to use the money more wisely’.

‘It has a lot of work to do,’ he added.

Birmingham City Council was unable to comment on the prime minister’s statements after entering the pre-election purdah period.

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