A senior councillor said library services had to be defended during his authority’s latest budget proposals.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, who is responsible for culture and leisure at Brent Council, said it “wouldn’t be right” to cut opening hours given the importance of libraries to the borough.

At a cabinet meeting earlier this week, councillors agreed the council’s budget proposals for 2019/20, which included a series of cuts and savings.

In the initial proposals, library opening hours were at risk, with the council earmarking a potential saving of £150,000 by making them part-time.

The response to a public consultation, combined with recommendations from the council’s scrutiny committees, led to a “rethink” and Cllr Hirani welcomed the decision.

He said: “Our libraries in Brent buck the national trend in terms of people coming through the doors – Wembley is the third most used in the country. It wouldn’t be right to reduce the service.”

He added that the council should build on its success of running the libraries, pointing out that, in neighbouring Harrow, the decision has been taken to bring services back in-house following the collapse of previous provider Carillion.

At a meeting last month, Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, explained that cuts to the borough’s library had been taken “off the table” for the foreseeable future.

However, she noted that things could change going forward and explained that, due to the difficult nature of balancing the council’s finances, things were constantly being reviewed.