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East Swindon | September 23, 2017

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Labour Councillor denies all knowledge of cuts to local Libraries, yet voted for them in February 2013!

Labour Councillor denies all knowledge of cuts to local Libraries, yet voted for them in February 2013!
Dale Heenan
  • On September 21, 2013

The Labour Councillor for Covingham & Dorcan has admitted blindly following his party line in cutting Library Services across the town, including Covingham and Liden Libraries, without any thought for residents.

The Labour party budget in February 2013, included £100,000 of cuts to Libraries with Covingham and Liden library in the firing line!

The Leader of the Labour group has confirmed in writing to local residents that Labour will not protect Libraries  saying “Labour will be amending the overall budget by finding additional savings in non essential spending in order to preserve services which have a direct affect on the lives of the vulnerable people of the town. This will not include opposing the cuts to library services.”

Every Labour Councillor voted for their budget and against the Conservative budget and the Conservative amendment which found the money to protect every library in Swindon.

Dale Heenan, “Six months after Swindon Labour Councillors voted to cut Library Services in Covingham and Liden, the local Labour Councillor is still in denial about the implications on his vote. He has now asked myself as a Conservative Councillor to explain the situation to him. Maybe it is dawned on him the flaw in his actions, because he has confirmed in writing that he was completely unaware and that he has never been part of any discussions to cut local Library services and would not support library closures.

Yet when the Labour party asks him to jump, he has said how high and voted without question for these cuts. This is a pattern that we are all too familiar with and joins an growing list of confusion and inaction. Sadly, it is no surprise that instead of being accountable for his actions, this person has started to make up the views of Conservative Councillors like myself to launch personal negative attacks.

My Conservative colleagues know exactly where I stand and our two local Libraries are a clear red line for me. When I first heard it was a possibility I lobbied the Conservative group hard, and I am pleased that this hard work paid off and the necessary money for Libraries was found. This demonstrates beyond doubt that there is a clear difference between the two parties for local residents. Labour refusing to find the necessary money to protect Libraries in our area on one side, and the Conservative who will do the hard work to protect Libraries and their hugely important role they play in the local community.

I worked hard to secure the money to refurbish Covingham Library, advocated  Covingham and Liden libraries being opened on Saturday mornings, and which when it happened, has been so successful that they are the only two libraries in the town to increase their usage in the last 12 months. Richard Hurley even hold our monthly Councillor Surgeries at the two libraries!

I will support our Libraries however I can, but for someone new to come along and try to cut Libraries without any thought for residents is simply staggering”