I am grateful for my hon. Friend's support for these collaborative schemes, which are designed to help to improve services to the public by way of their value for money and efficiency. The schemes range over a cross-section of the country, including the Cleveland county libraries project, to establish a market advice and information centre in Cleveland, and the Sheffield city libraries project, to set up a sports library and information service for the United Kingdom. There are also a number of projects in the south.
As there are 4 million more books in our public libraries than there were in 1979, which is an impressive achievement, does my right hon. Friend think that any incentive is needed for the public to read them?
My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the fact that the number of books available in public libraries over the past seven years has increased from 110 million to 114 million, which shows that library services are improving. Since 1979–80 there has been an increase of 5 per cent. in library resources in real terms.