THE creator of Postman Pat has expressed his anger at the decision to reintroduce library fines for children.

John Cunliffe, the creator of the popular television show character and previously a librarian in Brighton, says that the council’s new policy is “evidence of the nanny state in action”.

It was agreed by Brighton and Hove City Council last week to raise income levels by fining children when they are late returning library books.

Mr Cunliffe, 83, a semi-retired writer, from Yorkshire, said: “This whole business of library fines is against what libraries are all about and these fines will just end up charging children who are trying to read more and educate themselves.

“We need these libraries to stay in business and they are closing far too often at the moment but I am glad to know that the children’s library in Brighton is still open.

“It seems like a stupid and retrograde step to take and one that may lead to fewer children using libraries in the city.”

The council has declared that in order to balance the library budget, an additional £47,000 needs to be found in 2017/2018.

Labour councillor Kevin Allen backed the move saying youngsters needed to learn to take responsibility for their actions.

Mr Cunliffe says that although children do need to learn to take responsibility, some are only four or five years old and this seems an unfair burden on them.

He said: “There should be no fines at all, especially for children and there should be an effort made to supply an ample amount of books for people to read.

“Surely this would be the solution, not charging children money that they will have to get from their parents.”

Conservative councillor Garry Peltzer-Dunn called on the council to rethink plans which would see children charged late fees for the first time in nine years.

Councillor Peltzer-Dunn, who said there should be “no obstruction” to reading for young people in the city, was unsuccessful with an amendment to drop the plans as it was voted down by Labour councillors.

He said: “It doesn’t seem a lot, ten pence a day and a maximum of £2.50, but for some parents it might frighten them off.”

Children would be charged at 40 per cent of regular library users while the policy change will make vulnerable children exempt from late return fees.

The council expects to net £8,000 a year from the fines.