A COUNCIL has been asked to “come clean” on which libraries will face reduced opening hours as part of planned budget savings.

As part of wider proposals to save more than £17 million in the next financial year, more than £170,000 will be found from Brighton and Hove City Council’s libraries teams.

The Green minority administration says it must carry out the steps, which includes a review into library opening hours and not replacing the mobile library, to meet the Government-imposed cuts.

Yet, after a closed-door workshop into a three-year plan into the future of the city’s libraries, Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown has asked the council to “come clean” on which libraries will be affected.

Coun Brown said: “When they were in opposition, the Greens were always very vociferous campaigners for protecting libraries – now that they are in power, it seems that their words of support are starting to ring hollow.”

Budget papers show that £117,000 is to come out of the library service, partly through reduced opening hours.

It states that no libraries will close in the next financial year and the team will “continue to deliver the core services identified as priorities”.

Any changes will be subject to consultation with unions and staff.

Leading Green councillors have added that it had also recently signed off on plans for the construction of a new library in Woodingdean.

It comes after a library campaigner turned Green councillor Christopher Hawtree called Hove MP Mike Weatherley “cheap” for labelling him the “Dr Beeching” of libraries, a reference to the man who masterminded cuts to the British railway network in the 1960s.

Mr Weatherley said: “If Coun Hawtree’s library cuts become a reality the chapter will close on first-class library services for the city.

“Residents have consistently said to me that they don’t want a reduced service and that is exactly what will happen if Hawtree gets his cuts.

“Quite clearly, it appears that the Greens have the manual on U-turns out on long-term loan.”

In reply, Coun Hawtree said: “Mr Weatherly’s sour press release is a spectacular own goal on the same cheap level as Coun Smith challenging me to a duel when I asked about music libraries.

“I think Mr Weatherley’s mendacity is contemptible, he is not fit for the job. He has issued an appalling, untrue thing and brought his party continuing problems, including national library circles.”

A decision on the plans will be decided on February 23.