HC Deb 11 February 1985 vol 73 cc16-7
24. Mr. Fisher

asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts what representations Her Majesty's Government have received on his planned expenditure on public libraries in 1985–86.

Mr. Waldegrave

None, Sir.

Mr. Fisher

Is the Minister aware that the public expenditure White Paper shows a real decrease of £55 million in Government expenditure on libraries next year? Is he further aware that that decrease is forcing library authorities throughout the country to cut services, that Somerset has had to abandon all spending on adult fiction, and that the Highlands and Islands have had to reduce their book fund by 82 per cent? What does he intend to do about that? Does he perhaps think that libraries were overfunded this year and thus require a decrease next year?

Mr. Waldegrave

Since 1978–79 there has been a reduction of only 1 per cent. in the number of people employed in the public library service. My noble Friend is satisfied that the level of provision is adequate, although no doubt there are hard choices to be made in individual instances.