Burnham-On-Sea’s MP has this week attacked proposals by Somerset County Council to slash its mobile library service as part of an £80million cost reduction programme.

Tessa Munt’s comments came after the County Council unveiled detailed plans to cut the Mobile Libraries service in
Somerset.

The proposals include cutting the number of library vehicles by 66%, from 6 to 2, from 1st August 2011. They also include cutting the number of communities visited by 50%, from 415 to 209. And the number of stops will be reduced by 64%, from 854 to 311 as visits are scaled back to once every four weeks.

Tessa said: “These massive cuts of 66%, 50% and 64% are a grossly exaggerated response to the council’s aim to cut the Libraries budget by 25% over 3 years.”

“The Council’s 25% figure is way more than is necessary, bearing in mind the County Council’s grant from central Government has increased by £20m this year, not decreased. This is simply an unnecessary attack on important local services.”

“I know there will still be library visits to schools, elderly people’s homes and sheltered housing, but I am deeply concerned that such a major scaling back of this vital service will have a hugely detrimental effect on many towns and villages, and on people’s lives. I urge the councillors to consider the long term effects, and to think again.”

Hundreds of locations – include many in the Burnham-On-Sea area – are currently visited by the council’s mobile library buses, providing books and story tapes to residents, some of whom are without transport in isolated communities.

MP Tessa Munt is pictured with mobile library users in Wedmore