A PARLIAMENTARY committee has warned any plans to cut libraries in Southend could be against the law.

The Commons culture, media and sport select committee declared councils across the country were tip-toeing on edge of legality as they tried to slash costs.

Southend Council announced it would hold a “review” of the town’s six suburban branches, with the aim of squeezing even more cash from the already stripped-back system, in July.

However, under the Public Libraries and Museum Act 1964, local authorities have to maintain enough libraries to cater for most people.

Although it did not name councils, the select committee claimed some were making snap judgments “under considerable pressure to quickly find cost savings”.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the committee, added: “At the moment, councils appear to be somewhat in the dark about what is expected of them and are making decisions which are being overturned by judicial review.

“This is an expensive, undemocratic and generally unsatisfactory way of making policy.”