Bus subsidies set to be slashed to save council £200,000

Bus subsidy funding in Northumberland is set to be slashed by ten percent.

Northumberland County Council is consulting on a shake-up of 55 subsidised services to save £200,000.

The authority says it faces huge financial pressures and needs to ensure subsidy arrangements provide value for money.

Residents are being asked to comment on proposed new criteria for subsidies and the importance of bus services for employment, social activity and school travel.

However, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick Julie Porksen said the cuts would affect students who have been forced to use service buses to access education.

She added: “The council should be looking to improve bus services rather than cut them.

“Given the number of new village housing developments approved and in the planning system, it is very short-sighted of the county council not to invest in improving bus services in rural areas.”

Council Policy Board Member Ian Swithenbank said: “We have outlined criteria for subsidised bus services in the future, which we believe will ensure that they properly meet the needs of local communities, provide more focussed services and better value.

“While £200,000 sounds a significant sum, it is only ten per cent of the £2.4million budget for subsidised services, and through reviewing them and focusing more closely on needs, we are aiming for minimal disruption and a positive impact for many communities.”

Consultation runs until March 26 at www.northumberland.gov.uk