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Response to the autumn 2021 budget: A message from Suffolk Libraries CEO Bruce Leeke

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer Image (C)

We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to “renovate, restore and revive” libraries as part of the government’s “levelling up” agenda announced in yesterday’s budget.

While Suffolk Libraries – the independent, charitable organisation that has run Suffolk’s service since 2012 – has kept all of Suffolk’s libraries open and staffed, over the last decade there have been nearly 800 branches closed elsewhere over the same period.

Libraries should be the first place for any co-ordinated effort to improve the literacy, wellbeing and economic prospects of our communities. They provide a unique space where everybody can enjoy free services that have a direct effect on life outcomes, offering a means of co-ordinating national and local initiatives.

That could be through free internet access, getting information about jobs and benefits, borrowing a great book, attending a pre-school or perinatal session or just socialising in a rural setting.

With national government investment, we can look forward to further developing our productive working partnership with Suffolk County Council and making an even bigger impact on people’s lives.