CUTS to Gloucestershire’s library service are ‘destructive’ and ‘politically motivated’, according to protesters.

Last week Gloucestershire County Council’s Conservative administration agreed £1.8 million worth of cuts to the library service.

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries described the authority’s new library strategy as ‘deeply disappointing’, while Stroud Against the Cuts said it would hit the poorest hardest.

Under the strategy GCC will continue to run 31 libraries but funding to another seven, including Minchinhampton’s, will be withdrawn.

Of the 31 libraries supported by GCC, nine will be open six days a week and the other 22 will have varied opening hours.

Previous plans by GCC to make £2.6 million worth of cuts to the library service were judged unlawful following a judicial review initiated by FoGL in November 2011.

Johanna Anderson, founder and chairman of FoGL, said: "With a few exceptions, GCC has duplicated the same proposals for individual libraries as the original review which was declared unlawful.

"We believe that GCC has been running down its library service for a number of years, and these further destructive cuts simply continue this trend."

James Beecher of Stroud Against the Cuts said there was no justification for axing library services.

Mr Beecher, who was ejected from the cabinet meeting on Thursday after heckling council leader Mark Hawthorne, said: "GCC has £100 million in reserves yet it is making £2 million worth of cuts to the library service.

"How come the libraries in working class Labour areas are getting their hours cut but libraries in Tory heartlands are getting theirs increased?"

"These cuts would seem to be ideologically driven."

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, said: "Changes have been made where people consistently told us they were needed and we have extended the support for community-run libraries in line with the feedback.

"Cabinet will consider all of the recommendations closely before making a final decision."