Message from Cllr Robin Parker CC
- Whilst I, and the other 15 Liberal Democrat county councillors on HCC, will of course take note of the responses to the public consultation on possible bus service cuts, my initial view is that I oppose these suggested cuts.
- If implemented, the cuts would badly affect, for example:
(a) residents who do not or cannot drive or do not have private transport;
(b) people visiting friends or relatives in hospital;
(c) grandparents and others visiting their families on Sundays;
(d) the number of cars on the road, with all the resultant pollution, congestion and wear and tear on the highways system, because residents with cars will use them more than they otherwise might have done.
- The facts are not very clear from the information supplied by HCC on the consultation, and it is important that these are made clear to the public. The suggested cuts are to bus services in the county after 18.30 Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday. However, it is not all such services that would be cut, but only those which are currently subsidized by HCC. Commercially profitable services, which by definition are not subsidized by HCC, would of course run as long as the bus company continues to judge them to be commercially viable. This needs to be made clear to avoid unnecessary concern that all services are to be cut after 18.30 Monday to Saturday and on Sundays.
- For example, for the SB1 service, which serves my Chells Divison, the services would be cut:
(a) after 19.50 to end of the day on Mondays to Saturdays;
(b) and from 7.30 – 8.30 and from 17.50 to end of the day on Sundays.
- It is certainly true that, in common with all other councils, HCC has to make revenue savings, which are a direct result of the cuts in revenue support grants from central government, which in turn are a direct result of the huge unprecedented deficit (which was £5,000 extra borrowing each second) left by the economic shambles of the last Labour government.
- However, these proposed cuts are not a very good way to save money and over many years the Liberal Democrats have suggested other possible ways in which HCC could save money, including improvements to highways and capital procurement schemes, reductions in corporate publications, publicity and associated staff, reductions in management posts, better use of existing buildings and reductions in staff travel costs.