Conservative councillors have expressed their disappointment at the Labour Party’s failure to support amendments to the recent Brighton & Hove City Council Budget that could have restored opening hours to both Hangleton and Portslade community libraries.
The Green Administration’s announcement earlier this month that it would cut opening hours at both Hangleton and Porstlade libraries by 1½ days each has caused a public outcry. As a result, the Conservative Group put forward a proposal to restore half a day at each library, to be funded by a small reduction in the amount spent by the Council on employing Trade Union officials. Both Labour and Green groups voted down the amendment at the Council’s Budget setting meeting on Thursday.
Hangleton & Knoll Ward Councillors – Dawn Barnett and Tony Janio – who have both campaigned vigorously to overturn the Green proposals, expressed their disappointment at the Labour Group’s decision. Dawn said: “I am not surprised that the Greens didn’t support us as it was their proposal in the first place. But I’m absolutely flabbergasted that the Labour Group, and Cllr. Brian Fitch in particular, voted against restoring opening hours to Hangleton Library. He is supposed to be representing the residents here in the ward but for cynical party political reasons, he and his colleagues in the Labour Group, have voted it down. Shame on them I say, and Cllr. Fitch can rest assured that I will be letting residents know exactly who they can hold responsible for this fiasco.”
Tony Janio added: “In making this decision, the Labour Party has made it quite clear that they are more interested in scratching their trade union paymasters’ backs than helping out local residents who will be affected by library cuts. Hangleton Library is a lifeline for many elderly residents and is also used extensively for children’s homework clubs and other local community activities. It just beggars belief that the Labour Party has now put all that at risk just to further their own short-term political interests.”