It was great to be at the Civic Centre to take part in the rally to save our libraries. The Tories’ callous and self defeating austerity policies are putting huge pressure on Neath Port Talbot Council budgets. Tough choices have to be made, but our libraries are absolutely vital.

Neath Port Talbot Council has put out to consultation the future of Baglan, Cwmavon and Skewen libraries. These libraries are critically important hubs in the communities they serve. They are used by people of all ages and offer a range of services to local residents, from book lending and computer access to kids’ clubs and a meeting place. I frequently use our local libraries to hold my advice surgeries, coffee mornings and other community meetings.

The government in Westminster has been pursuing its callous, cruel and self-defeating austerity policies for more than eight years now. These Tory cuts have left local authority budgets at crisis point, so Neath Port Talbot Council has been forced to explore all options to plug the funding gap. But these libraries are vital assets, and we must do everything possible to keep them in our communities.

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