Equalities Commissioner to consider Moray Libraries closures in October

The main opposition group at Moray Council has received an assurance from the Equalities Commissioner that their complaint over the planned closure of seven Moray libraries will be heard next month.

Moray Council’s decision to close the libraries came against legal advice and the recommendations of an Equalities Impact Assessment, prompting the SNP group to write to the Equalities & Human Rights Commission seeking their views on a decision that both Labour and SNP councillors believe to be illegal.

Now the SNP’s spokesperson on Education, Mike Shand, has revealed that the Commission has replied saying that they will consider the equalities concerns at their next general meeting on October 14.

The view of the Commissioner is likely to have a major influence over planned legal action being taken by the Save our Libraries Moray group, formed last week from campaigners in each of the communities affected by the threatened closures.

Commenting on the response from the Commission, Councillor Shand said:  “I am pleased that the Equalities Commission are considering the issue of Moray library closures at a high level, and that this consideration will take place fairly soon.

“The response from the Commission will clearly be important in guiding those of us opposed to this shocking decision.  People from across Scotland have been speaking of their disbelief at the decision by Moray’s Tory and Independent councillors, including many prominent authors such as Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland.

“When I am out and about in the community the overwhelming response from people is that the Council’s Administration have not a clue what libraries are about and that their decision is short-sighted and totally irresponsible.”

A spokesman for Save our Libraries Moray said last night: “We are pleased to hear that the complaint tabled by the opposition group is being carefully considered by the Commissioner.

“It is our intention to write to the Commission ourselves to underline the importance of our Libraries but also to highlight the serious flaws in the decision making process taken by the administration at Moray Council.

“We are also asking members of the public to write to the Commission ahead of the October 14 meeting so that they are left in no doubt as to the support that exists for the retention of libraries in Moray and throughout Scotland.”

Details of where to write are on the Save our Libraries Moray Facebook page.

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