Robert Halfon takes threat to close Harlow libraries to House of Commons

Politics / Mon 10th Dec 2018 at 09:33am

ROBERT Halfon, MP for Harlow, raised his alarm at Essex County Council’s proposed closure of two libraries in Harlow, with the Leader of the House of Commons, during Business Questions, this morning.

Robert is currently campaigning against the potential closure of the libraries in Mark Hall and Tye Green in Harlow, which have been categorised as at risk of closure in Essex Council’s Future Library Services Strategy 2019-24. He has written to Essex County Council to express his opposition to the plans.

During a visit to Cooks Spinney Primary School in Harlow, Robert heard from pupils about how they use the libraries and their importance. He has also had discussions with Burnt Mill Academy about coming together to save the libraries.

In a comment piece for the Express newspaper, Robert explained that closing these libraries “not only destroys the chance of people having somewhere to read books but it also destroys our local communities as well.”

During Business Questions in the House of Commons Chamber, Robert Halfon said: “Can we have an Urgent Statement on protecting public libraries? Essex Council are threatening, in a potential act of barbarism and cultural vandalism, to close libraries in disadvantaged and deprived areas in my constituency of Harlow – a disgraceful decision.

“These libraries are treasured by our community and by our school children. They are an important place of reading. Can she please work with the Secretary of State for Culture and get these cuts reversed?”

In her response, Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House, said:

“My Right Honorable Friend [Robert Halfon] is raising an incredibly important point. We all know the value of libraries in our communities and it is not just about accessing books but there are many other community activities that take place, bringing people together, providing them with support and guidance and the Government is committed to seeking a sustainable future for libraries.

“As he will be aware, local authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service and I am aware that Essex County Council’s consultation on its proposals closes on the 20th February. I’m sure he and his constituents will want to participate in that consultation.”

Robert is asking for Harlow residents to take part in Essex Council’s online consultation survey and to email a letter to him at [email protected] outlining why the libraries must stay.

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