GLASGOW Liberal Democrats have been accused of lying by claiming South Side libraries are facing closure. 

A letter sent out by Carole Ford - the party’s spokeswoman on children and young people - to homes in Govanhill, Langside and Pollokshields claims that Glasgow City Council is planning to close three libraries in the area. 

Ms Ford’s claims were fiercely denied by council leader Susan Aitken. 

Glasgow Times:

She said: “There are no plans to close any of Glasgow’s libraries permanently – and no libraries will remain closed for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“The pandemic – and the necessary public health actions that have been taken to suppress it – have had a significant impact on the council family’s finances. One of the areas where that impact is most stark has been within Glasgow Life – where lockdown and the cancellation of significant events has led to the loss of around £14m of income already.

“However, our libraries and the services they provide will not only be key tools to help Glaswegians to recover from the trauma the city has endured this year, but also to rebuild our communities in the months and years ahead.”

Glasgow Times:

The SNP leader called the claims “utter untrue rubbish” in a post to Twitter yesterday. 

It is understood that Glasgow Life, an arms-length organisation which manages Glasgow’s libraries on behalf of the council - is facing significant financial difficulties. 

Despite local concerns and an online petition to “save” South Side libraries, there has been no suggestion that libraries will be permanently closed.
But the Greens have said that the council is responsible for causing confusion. 

Glasgow Times:

Councillor Jon Molyneux said: “Greens welcomed the SNP’s necessary clarification that no libraries will close permanently. But saying they won’t close is not the same as having a plan for them to reopen.

“Libraries provide access to lifeline services and we need them open now, in our local communities, to support people through the pandemic. Glasgow Life has a massive cash shortfall and we’ve been clear that the Scottish Government needs to step up. They’ve found money to help landlords with their lost income but nothing yet for libraries. We’re urging them to agree a rescue deal for Glasgow Life.” 

The Scottish Liberal Democrats declined to comment.