Cuts are imminently threatened by Oxfordshire County Council that could lead to the closure of nearly half the county’s libraries. Not only would this be an act of cultural vandalism, but it would be short-sighted in the extreme.

Public libraries are a capital investment for all our futures, and especially for children. Once destroyed, such assets are very unlikely ever to be replaced.

The council claims these disastrous measures are necessary because of Government funding cuts. Yet it seems to have no problem finding cash to pay its executives six-figure salaries, or to fund things like the preposterously extravagant London Road ‘improvements’ in Oxford, or the child care cost grants that appear to be available to non-British citizens recently arrived in this country.

It seems to me that the council’s priorities and those of most people in Oxfordshire are not the same, and that, as usual, despite token consultation exercises, it is not listening to us.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has a policy of making local authorities more genuinely democratically accountable, including holding referenda on issues of major local concern.

These threatened cuts could hardly be of more major concern. And the council was not elected with a mandate to impose them from on high.

In this serious crisis the people of Oxfordshire should be allowed to speak directly on where the cuts to their services, paid for with their money, should fall.

It would be perfectly possible to present a series of options for change which could be voted on at public libraries (while they are still there), in council offices and online, at minimal expense, to allow this to happen.

Let the people decide, not arrogant councillors and unaccountable, overpaid bureaucrats.

Laurence Hughes, UKIP Oxford