Bill Esterson signs up authors Howard Jacobson and Mark Billingh

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with renowned authors Mark Billingham and Howard Jacobson.


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has signed up two leading authors in his campaign to save library services from the Tory-Lib Dem axe.

Bill met with acclaimed writers Howard Jacobson and Mark Billingham.

Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson is best known for writing comic novels. Mark Billingham is the author behind successful Tom Thorne crime novel series.

Both authors told Bill Esterson that if it wasn't for local libraries neither would have become writers.

Bill said: "Howard and Mark both joined me at a meeting in Parliament to discuss the threat to our libraries because of Tory-Lib Dem Government cuts to local authority budgets.

"I told them how Aintree and Crosby's Carnegie Library are under threat because Sefton Council has had its budget cut by £324.5m by this government. 

"While Sefton is struggling to even pay for its basic statutory services, all the council's services are under review. This includes libraries as the council struggles to fill the £324.5m blackhole in its finances.

"Howard and Mark are aware of that as authorities throughout the North West struggle to keep library services going.

"They told me how they both used the local library as children. It was while there that they discovered their love of books and it was then that the decided that they wanted to be writers. They are rightly outraged that areas like Aintree will be without a library service because of this Tory-Lib Dem Government's cuts. And Crosby will lose one of it’s libraries for the same reason.

"They are both aware of countless other writers who feel the same. How many great writers would we have lost because they didn't have access to a library? How many great writers, or teachers, or academics, or doctors, will we lose in the future if the Tories and Lib Dems persist in condemning our library service to the history books?"

Bill has called on the government to provide rung-fenced funding to save libraries in communities like Aintree and Crosby.

Bill said: "I asked Eric Pickles directly if he would create funding specifically to save libraries. His Ministers refused the request even though they know that without ring-fenced funds they are condemning libraries to closure.

"Our libraries are used by young and old, rich and poor. For many they are a vital service, somewhere to socialise and to keep warm. For others they are place to study, or somewhere to just enjoy a good book. 

"I will keep putting pressure on the government on this issue and will continue to gather the support of library users like Howard and Mark to save the service for future  generations."

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