I am proud to have been part of the Council’s Education, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 5th of January where we voted to request more funding for Fife Cultural Trust to allow 16 libraries across the Kingdom to stay open for an additional year to allow time for viable alternatives to be put forward.
I proposed the amendment which saw the final vote split with SNP, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors reaching cross-party agreement to provide £571,000 to keep all 16 libraries open for a further year to allow the questions raised to be answered and communities to develop, while Labour voted to push ahead with the 16 closures, the first of which were due to close their doors permanently in March this year.
The theme throughout the concerns raised around this decision [by the Executive] is that there are no costs associated with any of the actions committed to. It also commits the council and its officers to several actions without any background or indication that these commitments can be met, or of the timescales involved.
A commitment that appears to have no costing or plans attached to it is the proposal to regenerate the Glenwood area. It leaves us very reminiscent of the promises made by Labour in 2012 for the precinct, but also of the comment Alex Rowley made in 2013 as Leader of Fife Council regarding his Budget, which has led to these library closure proposals, where he confidently said that “no facilities will close as a result of [their] funding decisions.”