Bus subsidy cuts planned

People have been urged to have their say on plans to slash Northumberland bus service subsidies.

Northumberland County Council is proposing to cut subsidised bus services by about 10 per cent, which Liberal Democrat campaigners say would affect communities in rural areas.

They are encouraging students, local residents and parish councils to feed in to the current consultation.

The council plans to cut £200,000 from the bus service budget, but opponents say the move is short-sighted and many of the subsidised bus services are in rural areas, serving villages where the population is predicted to rise under the authority’s draft Core Strategy.

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick Julie Pörksen said: “It is nonsensical that the Labour county council is proposing cutting bus services just at the point when we need them even more.

“The council has forced sixth-formers to travel to school on service buses rather than school buses and many students are now finding it difficult to travel to and from school and college. 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 Northumberland County Council not to invest in improving bus services in our rural areas. Even patient transport services are expecting more people to travel by bus to their appointments.

“I hope many people, including students and their families, will express their views in the consultation. We also cannot get to the point where there’s no point in having a concessionary bus pass because there’s no bus to use it on.”

The consultation can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk and runs until March 26.