Saturday 12 November 2011

After the court verdict on libraries, will we have a political verdict at the by-election?

The appeal case concluded at the High Court yesterday with the verdict expected in 3 - 4 weeks time, which is comparatively fast in legal terms.  It appears that the decision will be mainly based on the issue of indirect racial discrimination as outlined in my previous blog.

Although a victory would be excellent news it would not 'save the libraries' as such but would force the council to carry out a proper Equalities Impact Assessment which may change decisions about which of the libraries should be closed.

The letter writing campaign to the Culture Secretary is about the much broader issue of whether the Council is providing an adequate library service after the cuts. The letters call for him to set up a Public Inquiry and post closure evidence on over-crowding of the remaining libraries; loss of study facilities, and children, disabled an the elderly being unable to access a library will be important.

The by-election in Wembley Central opens up the possibility of library closures becoming an election issue. Ealing Road library is in the ward and has suffered over-crowding since the closure of the other libraries. It also has a high Asian population, the group that the Appellants claimed had suffered indirect discrimination as a result of the library closures.

There is an entertaining and informative commentary on the hearing on I Spy Queen's Park HERE

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