Thursday, 9 February 2012

Decision To Cut Bus Services Costs County £5M Transport Grant

A legally challenged Tory decision to cut millions of pounds from bus services across the county has resulted in Cambridgeshire losing a £5 million government transport grant.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been told that its latest bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, to help schemes such as Cambridge Dial a Ride, could not be justified in light of the decision to cut bus subsidies.

“This fund would have injected badly needed cash into community transport schemes which ironically were identified by the Tory administration to fill the gaps resulting from bus subsidy cuts,” said Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport, Susan van de Ven.

“This decision to cut bus subsidies has cost the county dearly. The government has made it quite clear that it has no intention of making up the money taken away by the Tories to plug holes in their budget caused by years of financial mismanagement.

“This ill-thought out decision is preventing the county council from securing government money which could have helped some of the county’s most crucial services survive.”

Jessica Matthew, Deputy Director of Sustainable Travel at the Department for Transport invited the council to put in another bid but warned in a letter: “The community transport component was not felt to be justified in the context of other local decisions and the revised bid should not include this component.”

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat Leader, Kilian Bourke said: “The publication of this previously unseen letter is the first evidence that the government explicitly rejected the bid for £5 million of transport funding because of the Conservatives' local decision to scrap 100 per cent of bus funding."

A sustained campaign by Liberal Democrats against last April’s decision to cut £2.7 million from bus subsidies led to the Tories making a dramatic U-turn and calling a public consultation.

"This is the first clear-cut evidence that the local decision to scrap 100 per cent of bus funding is costing Cambridgeshire money,” added Cllr van den Ven. “I urge the Conservatives to reinstate in their forthcoming budget funding for buses in whatever form, otherwise the council risks missing out on further funding opportunities from central government.

“Sadly admitting they were wrong came too late to save this grant.”

1 comment:

fedricksquare said...

This is the first clear-cut proof that the regional choice to discarded 100 % of bus financing is priced at Cambridgeshire cash,” included Cllr van den Ven.

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