D-day for Moray’s library campaigners as Councillor’s gather

What is expected to be a final decision over the immediate future of Moray’s Library service will be taken at a meeting of the Full Council this morning.

Members of the Save our Libraries Moray campaign have been contacting every member of the Tory and Independent administration in one least effort at convincing them that any saving they make by insisting on closures would be a false economy.

Councillors are expecting to arrive at around 9am this morning to a further protest outside the Moray Council HQ where the administration is saying they will agree to a U-turn that sees libraries at Dufftown, Burghead and Cullen remaining open – but four more at Findochty, Rothes, Portknockie and Hopeman would close.

That is their response to the launch of legal action by the campaign group, for whom vice-chair Joan Megson said: “For us this fight has always been about all seven libraries and the mobile service.

“We have put a compelling case to the Moray Council administration, one that has clearly shown that on financial, legal and moral grounds our library service is not an area they should be cutting even in these difficult financial circumstances.

“It is good that ahead of this meeting the administration has recognised our legal argument is not only a compelling one but one that they could not win – we believe that is the real reason why they are now seeking a compromise.

“But we urge them to step back completely from this course of action, we urge them to retain our library service in full.”

Last night the leader of Moray Council, Councillor Allan Wright, praised the campaigners but insisted they could not take their eye off the financial situation. He said: “The campaign was a well run and well fought campaign, but it was more about us taking our eyes off the ball and that is that we are trying not to do as we still need to save £20million.”

The SNP opposition group will put a motion before the council to retain the libraries and are seeking the support of the three Labour councillors. With that it would then only take the vote of only one Independent or Tory to keep all libraries open.

SNP spokesman for education, Councillor Mike Shand, said: “We have always remained fully behind the case for retaining all libraries and have monitored the campaign conducted by Save our Libraries Moray closely.

“The campaigners have presented their case in detail, demonstrating a strength of purpose and knowledge of the subject that is clearly lacking in the Tory and Independent administration.”

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