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GOVERNMENT MUST FULLY FUND BUSES

October 9, 2019 12:00 PM
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

Lib Dems respond to Chancellor's infrastructure funding announcement on an investment in roads and the creation of a national bus strategy

"With the number of bus journeys at the lowest level in over a decade, a national bus strategy is an important step towards improving local bus services. For it to succeed, it has to be backed by financial support to local areas said LGA Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Howard Sykes. Save Our Buses

"Councils face a £652 million funding gap in providing the concessionary bus fare scheme, which is putting nearly half of all bus routes at risk. It is vital this scheme is properly funded so councils can protect bus routes and reinvest in local networks.

"The Government spends 43 times per mile more on maintaining our national roads - which make up just 3 per cent of all roads - than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97 per cent of England's road network

Councils are facing a £9 billion local roads repair backlog and there is a need to see the government investment in national roads matched by at least the same investment in local roads, if the desperately needed-term improvements our country's road networks are to be met.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Tim Farron MP added: "After being starved of funding by the Government, local councils have to make the decision between subsidising bus services and spending money on adult social care. "They are a vital community lifeline especially for older residents. "Therefore a national bus strategy is to be welcomed - but it needs to be matched with serious investment."

As we reported in September Lib Dem County Councillor for Woodbridge, Caroline Page highlighted the cuts to bus services in Woodbridge and beyond, adding.

The Suffolk County's recent decisions to stop funding all roadside bus timetables and refusal to accept bus passes on "on-demand" replacements has added to the confusion and shock of the vulnerable, elderly and disabled people who are most affected. Young people travelling to college on the Sudbourne - Ipswich 71 (cut from November 2019) have no alternative.

The fast and efficient 800 park and ride extension to Rendlesham vanished with just three weeks notice. At the same time, cuts and amendations to the 64 bus route have left teachers unable to reach school, disabled people in Peterhouse without access to services, workers in Ipswich with no bus home after 6pm, and no chance of evening hospital visiting by bus at all.

END

Source: LGA Lib Dems - October 3, 2019. caroline page blog