Conservatives scheme to reward the libraries and childrens’ service wrecker

Andrew Dismore AM has expressed his anger at the Barnet Council Conservative Group nomination of Cllr Reuben Thompstone as their candidate to be Mayor of Barnet at the Council meeting last night. Cllr Thompstone is chair of the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee (CELS) and oversaw the children’s service receiving a failed rating by OFSTED inspectors last year.

Cllr Thompstone also rammed through the controversial schemes drastically to reduce library space and staffed hours; and to install a chip and pin system at libraries so they could not be accessed by unaccompanied children under the age of 14.

Mr Dismore, the Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, said:

‘This is a massive slap in the face to all those children in Barnet who have been failed by the Conservatives, including those in care and those children under 14 who want and need to use libraries, and whom Cllr Thompstone has banned from going into libraries unaccompanied. The Barnet Conservatives have insulted them by planning to honour someone who has slashed their services.

‘There is a stark difference between the two parties in Barnet. The Labour Group amendment to the budget, which the Conservatives rejected, would have funded more staffed library hours and help for those leaving care. The Conservatives voted it down because it would have meant cutting special allowances for councillors, scrapping their free buffet before full council meetings and ending Conservative Councillors’ free parking permit perks.

‘However, Cllr Thompstone’s gratification will be short lived. I am sure Barnet residents will see him and his party for what they are and ensure Cllr Thompstone is not the Mayor for the next municipal year, by electing a Labour Council, who will nominate as Mayor Councillor Alison Moore, who has earned and deserves the honour of being the Borough’s first citizen.’