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Foulkes: I welcome libraries inquiry
LEADER Steve Foulkes has said he welcomes the Government's last minute intervention into Wirral Council's plan to close eleven libraries.
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today called a dramatic halt to the closure programme (see related links below) which was due to begin tomorrow.
Mr Burnham's last minute decision has prompted oppostition councillors to demand Cllr Foulkes' resignation.
Although he has championed the library closures all along as part of the council's highly controversial strategic asset review, however, the Labour group leader has tonight said he is comfortable with any inquiry.
Cllr Foulkes said in a statement: "I have spoken to the minister today and welcome the inquiry announced today by the Secretary of State.
"We are confident that any inquiry will find that the strategic asset review will create on Wirral a comprehensive and efficient library service.
"If that was not the case, we would not have taken the decisions we have taken.
"We will be pointing out to the inquiry that even following the necessary closure programme, 99% of people on Wirral will still be within two miles of a library.
"We share the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council's vision of modern libraries that are lively information hubs that not only provide books but a range of other services including the provision of meeting spaces for local communities and advice and access to the full range of council services.
"I believe this is exactly what the council is committed to delivering for the people of Wirral.
"In view of the growing public debate on the future of the library service not just on Wirral but across the country it can only be a good thing that Wirral is in the vanguard of plans to change and improve the service and that our experience can be used to inform future changes nationally.
"In the meantime the closure programme will be temporarily suspended until the results of the inquiry are known."