THE GOVERNMENT has said it is not minded to hold an inquiry under the public libraries and museums act into Isle of Wight Council cuts to the library service.
But campaigners fighting the library cuts on the Isle of Wight have urged people to write to the culture secretary before a final decision is made.
In a letter sent to the Isle of Wight Council yesterday (Monday) from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said they were not minded to hold an inquiry at this stage.
According to Mr Vaizey: "The Secretary of State’s current view is that the Isle of Wight Council continues to offer a comprehensive and efficient library service."
He invited the public to make submissions to secretary of state Jeremy Hunt however, before a final decision is made. People have until September 17 to send representations to the DCMS.
The Isle of Wight Council stopped running five libraries, handing them over to volunteers, a town council and community groups — leading to reduced opening hours in some cases. The council continues to run libraries in Cowes, Freshwater, Newport, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor.
Last year, calls from Isle of Wight campaigners for a judicial review were rejected by the High Court.
Leading libraries campaigner Dave Quigley said today (Tuesday): "We have spoken to campaigners in Bolton and understand that the three councils with the highest percentage of library cuts have all received almost identical letters."
He urged people to contact the Secretary of State.
He added that they hoped to receive a copy of a select committee’s report into library cuts, including those on the Isle of Wight, later this month.
The committee heard evidence from Isle of Wight Council Leader Cllr David Pugh and a written submission challenging that evidence from Keith Fagan, a former member of the council’s ethical standards committee who stood down after strongly disagreeing with Cllr Pugh’s evidence.
To view the letter from Ed Vaizey, which includes details of how to submit representations, please click here.