British Library Board (Power to Borrow) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:10 pm on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden 12:10 pm, 13th March 2020

That is an excellent point. I knew that there was something about the Budget that I had to add to my speech, but I had forgotten what it was. My hon. Friend has put that on the record, and I join him in congratulating the Chancellor on what he has done on VAT—and on the British Library; the Red Book increases funding for the British Library, and that will enable it to do lots of things that I will talk about.

Books can open anybody’s eyes to a new world. They enable people to discover their passions and interests, and to think about how they might improve their life and their opportunities. It is not just books but libraries that matter, because not everybody gets to grow up in a home where there are books, or where there is enough space for them to work. They may have to share a bedroom with two or three others, or with an elderly family member. It is important that they have a library reasonably near their house that they can go to—a free space where they can think, work and, through the exploration of books, start to plan their life and imagine a future for themselves. Libraries matter, and the British Library is our foremost library.