LIBRARIES across Thurrock could be closed on Mondays after ruling councillors agreed proposals to save council cash.

All library staff who work more than 15 hours a week will also see their hours cut by 20 per cent in order to save £350,000.

But the decision by the ruling Labour cabinet has been branded a “slippery slope” by opposition Tories, who fear it will lead to libraries closing for good.

Joy Redsell, Tory spokeswoman for leisure, community and culture, said: “I do not agree with closing all the libraries one day a week. It is a slippery slope, and once you start closing the libraries it seems it is only going in one direction.

“When I was portfolio holder and I decided to close the libraries for one hour in the morning, I received many letters in opposition.

“I would have looked at shutting the libraries an hour earlier in a bid to save money.”

The cabinet report concedes all the options could have a detrimental effect on some of the community, but it safeguards jobs with no redundancies needing to be made.

It stated: “There are a wide range of community impacts potentially arising from these proposals, including reduced access to services, which are likely to disproportionately affect those with mobility or other impairments as well as those on low incomes.”

Lynn Worrall, Labour councillor responsible for leisure, communities and culture, said: “I can state categorically these latest proposals keep each and every one of our libraries open.

“Their hours may reduce, but each and every one will stay open.

“We all recognise the difficult financial climate we are now in, and the need for services to achieve savings.

“Unfortunately, library services cannot be exempt.

“However we also recognise the vital role library services play in our communities, and we have therefore sought to ensure we are able to make short-term savings which minimise the impact on our communities.”