Libraries could be the next "casualty" of spending cuts.

Barnet Borough Council's Labour councillors claim Conservatives are planning to cut the libraries budget by up to £2.85m, or 60 per cent.

Councillor Anne Hutton, Labour libraries spokesman, said that the potential cuts meant library closures were "likely".

She said: "It looks like Barnet's libraries will be the next local casualty of the Conservative-led Government's austerity drive and the Barnet Tories' callous 'One Barnet' response to that austerity drive.

"Cutting 60 per cent of the libraries budget makes library closures or privatisation likely.

"The public need to be told about the threat to their local libraries so they can be given an opportunity to express their support for them - without that support many Barnet libraries could be closed for good."

Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of the council, said: "The library service budget will have to be viewed in the context of the £8m savings target already unanimously accepted by the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee."

Cllr Cornelius said no decisions had been made, and that a series of options for the future of the borough's libraries would be considered by the committee.

Following the committee decision, these would be made available for public debate and consultation.

Cllr Cornelius added: "As Ed Balls made clear this week, austerity is going to continue for the rest of the decade. That means that the council expects to have to make saving of £72 million by 2020 and the council and its committees will have a lot of difficult decisions to make."