James at the launch of World Book Day 2019
James at the launch of World Book Day 2019

Bury North MP James Frith is championing reading and local libraries on World Book Day 2019.

World Book Day is an annual occasion to celebrate reading. It is marked by over 100 different countries and celebrates authors, illustrators, and books.

Ahead of World Book Day 2019, taking place on 7th March, new data commissioned from the House of Commons Library reveals that cuts to local government have had a serious impact on local libraries. 521 libraries have closed in England since 2010 and the number of books issued by public libraries in the North West decreased by 45% between 2010 and 2018.

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Libraries are at the hearts of our communities and they are engines of opportunity. However, almost a decade of Tory austerity has taken its toll on our public library services, causing branch closures, staff cuts, and reduced opening hours.

Cuts to school budgets have also forced school to reduce library provision. Over 80% of Bury schools who responded to James’s school survey said they’ve been forced to cut spending on books.

Cuts to library services damage the learning opportunities of children and young people, and impact on older people looking for company and comfort.

James said:

“World Book Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading. Books open up whole new worlds for children and adults alike.

“That’s why it is such a scandal that millions fewer books are being issued from our public libraries and schools are being forced to reduce library provision. Council and school budgets have been cut to the bone by Tory austerity and our library services are paying the price.

“Libraries are at the heart of our local communities. I urge local people to take the time this World Book Day to visit our brilliant public libraries in Bury and Ramsbottom and the excellent library and community centre run by volunteers in Tottington.

“I also urge the Government to rethink and end the senseless cuts to council and school budgets which are denying the joy of reading to a whole new generation.”

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