LORD TONY GREAVES TO CHALLENGE THE GOVERNMENT ON BUS SERVICE CUTS
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Pendle-based Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Tony Greaves, is to challenge the Conservative Government on Wednesday (13th January) over the threatened cuts to local bus services. At Question Time in the House of Lords he will ask “what assessment they have made of the effect of reductions in local government spending on local bus services in 2016-17”.
Lord Greaves said: “As we know, Lancashire County Council are proposing to close down all the subsidised services in Lancashire due to the massive cuts in their spending imposed by the Government. This will have a devastating effect on the people who use them, in both villages and towns throughout the County.
“But it is not just Lancashire – all over the country Councils are stopping doing the things they do not have to do by law, with shocking consequences for communities and the quality of life of local people.”
Lord Greaves said he wants to know whether the Conservative Ministers understand the havoc they are causing, and what advice they are giving to Councils facing these cuts to keep the buses running.
I was closely involved when these town services were started up thirty years ago and it’s vital we now fight to keep them. Councillors in Colne have secured some funds from the planning permission for the new Boundary Mill garden centre to help pay for these buses and it would be criminal to just throw this money away now.
The petition can be signed at: http://tinyurl.com/
Lord Greaves Question on bus service cuts
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of reductions in local government spending on local bus services in 2016–17.
Inadequate answer provided by the Minister to Lord Greaves Question
My Lords, decisions about the provision of bus services requiring local government subsidy are a matter for individual English local authorities in the light of their other spending priorities. The majority of public funding for local bus services is via the block grant provided to local authorities in England fromDCLG. The Department for Transport also provides £40 million in bus service operators grant funding directly to English local authorities to help deliver local bus services.
Lord Greaves Response
My Lords, that is a factually correct account. However, all over the country there are horrific stories about local bus services being cut as a result of cuts in council subsidies as a result of cuts in the funding of local authorities. In my own county of Lancashire, the proposal that will go before the county council is to abolish bus subsidies for services to villages, services in rural areas, and the little buses that go around the towns, which are so important. Is this really the legacy that this Government want to leave?
Government Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
It is not. I mentioned the bus service operators grant. In Lancashire, last year, we provided £1.86 million directly for the purposes of retaining services. The Government are looking at the overall offering of bus services, particularly in rural areas, to ensure both connectivity and the sustainability of essential transport links.
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