Laura Sharman 31 October 2014

Minister unlikely to intervene on Sheffield’s library changes

Minister unlikely to intervene on Sheffield’s library changes image

Sheffield Council's plan to allow volunteers to run its 15 branch libraries have been branded ‘thorough and well considered’ by the Government.

Minister for culture, Ed Vaizey, has written to the council saying he is ‘not currently minded’ to conduct an inquiry into the council’s proposals. A local campaign group has claimed the plans mean the council is not meeting its legal duties.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for communities and public health, said: ‘We are delighted that the minister is not planning to carry out an inquiry into our library changes as things stand. He intervened very late in the day after having information for months, in a move that could have ultimately closed library branches. Obviously we’re waiting for him to confirm his decision but things look positive.

‘We’ve worked really hard with the people of Sheffield to find a solution that works for the city in the face of searing funding cuts. The response from the volunteer groups has been fantastic and it’s thanks to them that all our libraries remain open.’

Mr Vaizey will make a final decision on the plans by 20 November, which aim to save the council £1.67m.

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