CUTS to library services will not be as savage as originally thought after Bradford Council decided to use £700,000 of public health money to prop-up the service.

The council was due to reduce the district’s library budget by £1.05 million in the coming year.

But in its latest budget announcement, the authority revealed it would be moving £700,000 from its public health budget to the library service. Officers argued that libraries provided vital public health services such as preventing loneliness.

Although the future of the service will not be revealed until March, officers told a council committee that the ongoing extra money would make the library service more financially secure in the future.

Members of the regeneration and environment scrutiny committee were given an update on the library service.

They were also told the results of a public consultation into the cuts.

Over 3,300 people from across the district responded to the consultation, members were told.

David Greenwood gave a presentation on the results. He said there was a good spread of responses, across all age ranges and ethnic backgrounds. Mr Greenwood said: “This is the first time we’ve had such a comprehensive response, there are few if any gaps.”

Phil Barker, assistant director for sport and culture, said: “As well as the £700,000, we are having other conversations about ways of bringing more funding in, which we will continue to pursue in the coming weeks. We are talking with partners to develop options for the future of our libraries. By the end of March we should have a robust plan for what the libraries service will be going forward.”

He said the public health money would "create a library service that will help the health and wellbeing agenda – but it will not all be used to fund new activity”.

A public consultation into any changes would take place before the council moved forward, the committee was told.

Referring to the high level of responses to the initial consultation, Councillor David Heseltine said: “Those responses show how much people in the district value public libraries.”

Councillor Riaz Ahmed said: “We were told there was no more money, then there was a public outcry and now we have this money. If there is more public outcry could we get more money from somewhere else?”

Mr Barker said: “The library service is an important one and a lot of people made representations. This new investment is a testament to all the people who lobbied.

“We are carrying on conversations that began some months ago and it may be that these lead to further proposals that could lead to more funding.”

Officers were asked to bring a report on the future of the library service to the committee’s meeting on March 4.