- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
On Saturday 9 January 2016, I called a demonstration outside Pleck Library against the proposed closure of Pleck and South Walsall Libraries.
I called this demonstration to show the strength of feeling in the local community against the Council’s proposals to close Pleck Library. I was delighted that so many people of all ages came out to demonstrate how valued our libraries are.
The Library is very well used by the community in Pleck. One of the people who came to demonstrate told me that she works at a local school and many pupils use Pleck Library for their homework. In an area where educational attainment is below the national average, libraries are a crucial investment in our children’s future. The library is also used for an over 50s club, a knitting club and a Beginners’ IT club amongst others.
Walsall MBC has unallocated reserves of more than £10 million. Just a fraction of this would secure the future of the library for years to come.
Walsall MBC must prioritise our libraries which are wonderful community assets. I am sure the demonstration I called has shown the strength of feeling in the community.
When the Government announced a 1.5% increase to Walsall MBC’s budget by 2019/20, I asked the Communities Secretary whether this meant services would now be protected and that there is no need for further cuts. He was unable to give me this assurance but said there was an increase in the settlement. I hope the Council will protect our libraries.
In addition to the proposed cuts to Libraries, the Council also proposes to close the New Art Gallery on Sundays, the very day families are able to visit together. I urge the Council to act as a custodian of these community assets and to keep them open for all to use.