HC Deb 08 March 1999 vol 327 c19W
Mr. Corbyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what advice is given by his Department on the provision of locally available, accessible libraries. [73161]

Mr. Alan Howarth

[holding answer 1 March 1999]: Local library authorities have a statutory duty to provide comprehensive and efficient services and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has recently reminded them of his own statutory obligation to ensure that they do so. The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 does not specify the number, location, distribution or opening hours of local libraries. These detailed decisions are for local library authorities to make, based on the precise nature of their areas and their local resources and priorities. However, through their Annual Library Plans, library authorities are required by my right hon. Friend to report on the availability and accessibility of local libraries, which is a key element in ensuring that a comprehensive and efficient service is being provided, and he subsequently provides both individual and general feedback to each authority.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received concerning the future of Kilburn, Chalk Farm and Belsize public libraries in Camden; and if he will make a statement. [75186]

Mr. Alan Howarth

[holding answer 5 March 1999]: To date, I have received 23 representations about these public libraries. I am looking at Camden's proposals for its library services in detail to ensure that they meet with statutory requirements and do not result in a reduction in service quality across the authority.