MPs take library closure fight to House of Commons

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Fife’s four SNP MPs have lodged a motion in the House of Commons calling on Fife Council to reconsider its decision to close 16 libraries.

They describe that action as ‘‘devastating’’ and say the local authority has lost the vision of Fife born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who gifted libraries to the world.

Stephen Gethins (North East Fife), Douglas Chapman (Dunfermline and West Fife), Peter Grant (Glenrothes) and Roger Mullin (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) have lodged a joint Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament which calls on the council

to rethink its decision to shut the libraries in April next year.

Mr Gethins, whose constituency will see Lundin Links, Falkland, Freuchie, Crail, Colinsburgh and Pittenweem libraries close, said: “I am very disappointed by the decision; it’s incredibly short-sighted and will deprive many communities of a vital and valuable service.

“Giving some communities until Christmas to come up with a plan for how they could run the libraries, without any guarantee their proposals will be accepted, is very difficult.”

Peter Grant, whose Glenrothes constituency will also see six library closures - Glenwood, Pitteuchar, Markinch, Thornton, Bowhill, East Wemyss - said: “As a local councillor I was in the Fife Council chamber when then Council leader Alex Rowley gave his guarantees that facilities wouldn’t need to close as a result of Labour’s budget cuts.

“Those guarantees have now been shown to be worthless promises from a Labour party that has lost all semblance of integrity”.

Douglas Chapman, who will lose three libraries - Abbeyview, Crossgates and Townhill, said: “One of our most famous sons, Andrew Carnegie, spent his time and money opening libraries around the world. While modern day libraries must go beyond simply lending books, I am very disappointed that this Labour-run Council lacks the foresight of Carnegie with their appalling decision to close sixteen libraries.

“There are so many more services our libraries could and should be providing - and taking library services out of areas where the council should be championing innovative ideas to boost literacy and numeracy leaves me speechless.”

The closures will also be detrimental to those living in the Kinghorn area, according to local MP Roger Mullin.

He said: “The entire consultation and decision making process leading up to the announcement of closures was deeply flawed.

“Libraries are centres of activity for a wide range of constituents. To choose to harm constituents in this way is despicable.’’