Politics

SNP accused of shafting local government as librarian numbers fall

THE NUMBER of librarians in Scotland has fallen by almost a third in the last seven years.

Scottish Labour has blamed the SNP, accusing the party of cutting local government funding.

Data obtained by Labour through freedom of information laws found that since 2015 there has been a 32 per cent fall in the number of librarians in Scotland, from 306 to 208 this year.

Previous analysis of Scottish Government spending has also shown a drop of more than £220m in real terms funding on libraries since 2010/11.

Scottish Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Mark Griffin said: “Libraries are at the heart of Scotland’s communities, but they have been decimated under the SNP – funding has been slashed and staff numbers have plummeted.

“Libraries are an essential gateway to information for people of all ages, but these cuts will hit children and families in poverty particularly hard.

“As we fight to close the attainment gap and recover from the chaos the pandemic inflicted on education, libraries will be more important than ever – but they are hanging by a thread with many still closed.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said the budget had allocated an additional £375m for day-to-day spending, adding: “The Scottish Government’s £1.25 million Public Library COVID Relief Fund, announced in November 2021, is now supporting 23 projects around the country to re-connect communities with their libraries.

“There is a need, however, to ensure our library sector fully recovers from the pandemic – local authorities have a key role to play here.”

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