NICOLA Sturgeon was accused last night of allowing Scottish libraries to be ‘wiped out’ over the past decade amid striking new figures.
Analysis of the council’s finance statistics work found that spending on public libraries has been reduced by a third in real terms since 2010/11 – from around £ 135million to just £ 92million Last year.
Figures, provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Center, suggest libraries would have received an additional £ 116.4 million over the decade had spending remained at 2010 levels.
Adjusted for inflation, Scottish Labor say the figure in real terms is also “astonishing” at £ 220million in “cumulative cuts”.
It comes as Nicola Sturgeon – an avowed bookworm – has come under fire for shutting down libraries and other community services in her hometown of Glasgow.
Scottish Labor local government spokesman Mark Griffin said: “These numbers expose the devastation the SNP has inflicted on communities.
“It is shameless for the Prime Minister to talk about her love of books as her government has decimated libraries across the country, including in her own backyard.
“Libraries are for everyone, but these cuts will hit children and the worst off hardest.
“Community services have been shattered as the councils desperately try to deal with the savage austerity inflicted by the SNP.
“The SNP must stop gutting local authorities and act now to save Scottish libraries.”
We explained earlier this year how many public places, including libraries, sports centers, fields and museums, had not been reopened in the SNP-run city as the lockdown eased.
In April, Glasgow City Council’s independent leisure trust listed nearly 60 community places that should not reopen – including several historic library buildings, angering locals.
And the council did advertise that outside groups or the public potentially take over some community facilities, in order to save money.
According to the council, many sports and community venues from Glasgow Life are currently not expected to reopen serving some of the city’s poorest communities.
Scotland’s Covid Vaccine Passport Status app has been called a ‘farce’ as Humza Yousaf admits it could take days to fix
The body insists that the sites are not necessarily removed – giving various reasons for temporary closures such as renovations, sites unsuitable for social distancing or services moved to another location.
Last week, the Glasgow Against Closures movement protested outside Holyrood against the 59 closed sites – including the Maryhill, Whiteinch and Barmulloch Libraries.
The Scottish government has said Labor figures do not take into account that many boards run their libraries through trusts where there are “cross-grants” with theaters, concert halls and sports centers – and “will not represent total expenditure for libraries”.
Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “Labor’s cheap library clichés do not stand up to scrutiny. Across the country, their advisers have shut down library services at the local level and directly contributed to the depletion of services.
“Local authorities have a legal obligation to ensure that there is an adequate supply of library services for their residents. “
She added: ‘I was proud that the Scottish government launched a £ 1.25million Covid Public Libraries Relief Fund.
The fund will address issues related to Covid to help libraries stay open and support their communities. “
We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Write to us at [email protected] or call 0141 420 5300