Thousands sign petitions against library and youth service closures

Thousands sign petitions against library and youth service closures

Campaigners ourside the Council house hand in petitions of over 2800 signatures

On Monday anti-cuts campaigners handed in petitions with over 2800 signatures against library and youth service closures.

Sarah Smith from Save Coventry Libraries said “This is a further sign of the massive opposition throughout Coventry to the council’s cuts agenda.”

Almost 800 people signed the “Stop Youth Club Closures” petition initiated by Bailey Evatt, one of the service users.

Bailey Evatt with Dave Nellist

Coventry Council say they have to make cuts, but they don’t – they could use the £95million+ that they have in reserves to fund services to hold the line and buy time to build a campaign to get back the money that the Government has stolen from the people of Coventry.

Campaigners holding a poster created by youth club users

70 people join lobby of Coventry Council against library closures

70 people join lobby of Coventry Council against library closures

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Lobbying the council – save our libraries!

Around 70 people braved the rain yesterday and joined a lobby of Coventry Labour Council organised by Save Coventry Libraries.

A number of councillors passed the demo and spoke to protesters saying that while they appreciate that libraries are a crucial service, they have no choice but to make cuts and close libraries. Let’s be clear, they do have a choice – the council could use the £84million+ that they have in reserves to fund services for a year, while building a campaign to demand the money back from central Government.

It is unfortunate but not surprising that most of the Labour councillors who voted to close these libraries are opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. It is a sad state of affairs when they spend more time attacking socialists on Twitter than they do defending the jobs and services of people in Coventry!

Save Coventry Libraries is encouraging people to write to their local councillors and MPs and tell them what your libraries mean to you, and that libraries are a necessity and a basic human right, not a luxury.

The campaign has three upcoming events – “Love Willenhall Library day” on Monday July 25th at 1pm, “Love Arena Park Library day” on Saturday July 30th at 12 noon, and a further lobby of Coventry Council on September 6th at 1pm.

Over 50 people join lobby of Coventry council

Over 50 people join lobby of Coventry council 

Protesters gather outside the Council House

Protesters gather outside the Council House

Over 50 people joined a lobby of Coventry Council’s first full meeting since being elected on May 7th. The lobby, organised by campaigners from Save Coventry Libraries, saw a petition of over 2200 signatures against the closure of Tile Hill Library handed in by TUSC candidate Sarah Smith.

A number of staff members and service users from the Employment Support Service (TESS) also attended the protest, and spoke passionately about the support TESS provides, both in helping disabled people find employment and giving ongoing assistance at work. Coventry Unison members also attended to show support to members of the community fighting to defend local services.

A number of councillors passed the protesters and some even stopped to listen to what we had to say – unfortunately Foleshill’s Abdul Khan was not one of them, and dismissed service users by stating that TESS “isn’t [his] portfolio”. Despite repeatedly being asked to oppose cuts, none of the councillors committed to voting against further austerity measures proposed by the Labour council.

Many speakers pointed out that one lobby of the council won’t force them to back down, and further action will be needed, such as the protest against Osborne’s austerity budget on July 8th (5.30pm at Broadgate in Coventry). One campaigner stated that if the councillors we’ve got won’t fight back, at the next election we should replace them with some who will.