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Lords to debate role of libraries and independent bookshops in the UK

Members of the House of Lords, including Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue, Baroness Rebuck, chair of Random House UK and Baroness Hollins, founder of social enterprise Books Beyond Words, will this week debate the importance of libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers in the UK.

The debate, which will be opened by Lord Bird - his second balloted debate - will be held in the House of Lords on Thursday 13 October.

Speaking ahead of the debate, he said: 

“It is hard to overstate the contribution that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers make to our lives. They are at the centre of the health and wellbeing of our local communities - intellectually, culturally, socially and physically.”

“Given the fundamental importance of literacy in efforts to prevent and dismantle poverty, I firmly believe that they need continued support from both central and local government across the UK.”

“I am asking that measures such as rates and taxes be lessened for bookshops in order to keep them buoyant, and that the UK Government sets a clear vision as to how it will promote, improve and strengthen our vital public library service.”

“This debate on Thursday will be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the current challenges that libraries, independent bookshops and booksellers face - and to set out a plan as to how we can best safeguard their long-term future.”

Other Members scheduled to speak include:

Lord Addington
Baroness Blackstone
Lord Collins of Highbury
Lord Crisp
Baroness Hollins
Baroness Rebuck
Bishop St Albans
Lord Suri
Lord Tope
Lord Wasserman

Lord Ashton of Hyde will respond on behalf of the Government.

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