Wirral MP Hand Delivers Criticism to Ombudsman; Culture Closures 'Unlawful
Byline: BY MATT HURST Daily Post Staff
WIRRAL MP Stephen Hesford has called on the local government ombudsman to declare the planned closure of 11 libraries across the borough unlawful.
The Wirral West Labour MP travelled to York on Friday to personally deliver his 103 page analysis of the plans, branding them "maladministered and inadequate", "unfair and inequitable" and "wrongly budget-led".
Addressing dozens of residents outside Hoylake Library, Mr Hesford condemned the plans contained in Wirral Council's Strategic Asset Review (SAR).
"This is a budget-led process.
"They thought of a sum of money they wanted to save and then went and looked for libraries, never thinking about what services are needed."
In his report, the Labour MP attacks the entire process, calling it "an excessive response to what began life as a reasonably sedate review of buildings".
He claims the SAR was "undoubtedly linked" to keeping council tax below 4%, thus making it unlawful, and that it "was and remains deeply unpopular with all sections of the community, in all areas of Wirral".
Mr Hesford also criticises the consultation process, saying it "was, and was meant to be, unresponsive" and states that "libraries cannot close because of simple financial expediency".
In his report, the Labour MP writes: "You only have to reflect that no other local authority has ever attempted to undertake such an exercise to realise that this is almost certainly because it is not necessary, nor is it a good idea. …