Lib Dem statement in response to Wokingham Borough Press Release STEP CLOSER TO A LIBRARY SERVICE THAT’S FIT FOR THE FUTURE

Speaking in response to the council press release Councillor Prue Bray said “The council press release blames those campaigning against the council’s plans for libraries for spreading misconceptions and scaremongering. That is an insult to the thousands of people unhappy with the idea of handing over the running of the library service to a private company.

If there have been any misconceptions on the part of the public I would lay the blame squarely with the council who have throughout conducted an entirely secretive process. The Conservatives can’t blame EU rules for imposing secrecy on them –┬ábecause those rules only applied after they made the decision to outsource the service.

Given the council’s complaint about misconception it is rather ironic the press release itself is grossly misleading. It refers to a ‘cross-party working group’ having worked at and supported the prioritisation of the criteria for the library contract specification. For some months there has been a secret Conservative-only working group looking at libraries. The only cross-party element is one workshop held on 1st February 2012 right at the end of the process. And I do not think it is accurate to say it supported the prioritisation of criteria for the library contract. Anyone reading the press release would think that the Lib Dems have been involved all the way along and supported what was being put in the contract. Neither of those things is true.

Given the importance of this issue to the community as a whole, the council should be listening to people and be open about what is going on. Instead they have put out a press release which has shown they are unable to do either.”

Published by Woodley & Whitegates Liberal Democrats, 26 Farriers Close Woodley, Reading RG5 3DD.

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