Sheffield Labour’s ‘desperate’ library election bid backfires

Sheffield Lib Dems have outlined how a desperate last-minute bid from the Sheffield Labour Party to win over voters by pledging support for Stannington Library backfired.

In a leaflet titled ‘Stannington Library’s future is now secure’ delivered in the final few days of the local election campaign, there was a promise of “£30,000 over the next three years to help cover the library’s overheads”.

Nick Clegg & Cllr David Baker with campaigners at Stannington Library

However, Labour lost out in Stannington Ward to the Lib Dems and now face demands from Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, to outline support for other library groups across Sheffield – including in Totley and Broomhill.

Stannington Ward elected Liberal Democrat David Baker with a healthy majority of nearly 800, more than double the previous majority in 2012. The Labour Party vote slumped.

Nick Clegg MP, said:

“Labour’s cynical attempt to present themselves as the saviours of Stannington Library didn’t fool local people – which is hardly surprising given that Labour councillors decided to withdraw funding in the first place.

“Although their ploy failed and Labour were overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box, I’m urging the Council to deliver the £30,000 for Stannington Library outlined in the election leaflet without delay.

“I’m also calling on the Council to outline funding for other library volunteer groups in places like Totley and Broomhill. Unlike Stannington they weren’t targeted by this Labour leaflet, but all areas deserve to be treated equally and fairly.”

David Baker, newly re-elected Lib Dem Councillors for Stannington Ward, said:

“I’m delighted that our pressure paid off and we managed to force Labour into this concession. However, Labour shouldn’t renege on the £30,000 for Stannington Library just because voters in the area saw through their desperate ploy.

“We will carry on the fight to pressure Labour into changing their mind and fully restore funding. We know this is possible as Lib Dems have a fully costed plan that would see all funding for libraries restored at the expense of Labour’s office refurbishments.”

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