Funding for libraries ‘down by almost a fifth over past decade’

Annual expenditure on libraries by councils has decreased in nine of the last ten years, according to Scottish Labour.

Funding for libraries ‘down by almost a fifth over past decade’ iStock
Scottish Labour: Annual expenditure on libraries by councils has 'decreased in nine of the last ten years'.

Spending on library services in Scotland has fallen by almost a fifth over the past decade, Scottish Labour has found.

Annual expenditure on libraries by councils has decreased in nine of the last ten years, falling from £134.6m in 2010-11 to £91.8m in 2019-20 — a drop of 19.6%.

The figures, provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice), suggest libraries would have received an additional £116.4m over the decade if spending had remained at the 2010 level.

Adjusted for inflation, Scottish Labour say that the real terms figure is more than £220m of cumulative spending cuts.

The party’s local government spokesman, Mark Griffin, said: “These figures lay bare the devastation the SNP has inflicted on communities.

“It is shameless for the First Minister to talk about her love of books while her government have decimated libraries across the country – including in her own back yard.

“Libraries are for everyone, but these cuts will hit hardest for children and the worst off.

“Community services have been cut to the bone as councils desperately try to cope with the savage austerity inflicted by the SNP.

“The SNP must stop gutting local authorities and act now to save Scotland’s libraries.”