WRITERS have reacted with anger to the closure of seven libraries in controversial cuts agreed by Moray Council.

The council's decision this week to cut its entire arts budget led to widespread criticism, and the Scottish Government has urged it to reconsider.

Now authors have expressed their anger at the closure of seven libraries out of 15 in the council area as part of a programme of cuts to save £30 million.

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Scottish crime writer Tony Black instigated the campaign after claiming his letter of concern to council leader Allan Wright was greeted with an "arrogant one-word reply".

Black said: "I wrote to Mr Wright addressing my concerns in a reasonable way and expected to, at the very least, be given the courtesy of a proper response. Instead he issued an arrogant, one-word reply of 'noted'.

"I have watched these cuts – not just to library services but to many much-valued and essential services – night after night on the news and I just felt I had to act.

"We cannot continue to erode our societal structure to this extent. Where does it stop? It's always the vulnerable, the needy and the easy targets they go for too."

Fellow author Mark Billingham added: "Everyone knows libraries are crucial to our cultural well-being, but in many cases they are also the heart of a local community.

"Closing them is beyond ridiculous; it's obscene."

Novelist Douglas Jackson said: "I think it's an absolute disgrace. It's an attack on literacy, because these will be libraries in rural areas, where alternative access to books won't be readily available.

"I hope the people of Moray surprise the Philistines on the council and campaign to have the decision overturned."