Uncertain future for book charity

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CHARITY bosses are still waiting to hear what the future holds for a free book scheme which sparked a political row.

It was announced just before Christmas that 13m worth of funding from the Department of Education to Bookstart, which funds a range of programmes providing free books to youngsters, was being axed.

The move immediately came under fire, forcing the Government to hint that it will continue to support the service in the future rather than completely pulling the plug from April as was initially planned.

But a Bookstart spokesman told the Mail that the situation hadn't changed.

He said: "The whole situation hasn't really changed since Boxing Day when it was suggested the funding wouldn't be axed.

"We are hoping to get a meeting with the Department of Education and Michael Gove, the education secretary.

"But as things stand at the moment, there hasn't been a date set for any meeting to take place."

Bookstart schemes give every baby in the UK a free pack of books, then it progresses to hand out free books as children get older and encourages them to read at home.

The books are usually handed out across Hartlepool and east Durham by the Surestart groups.