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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

MPs urge KCC to rethink plans to cut bus subsidies

4th December 2017
MPs urge KCC to rethink plans to cut bus subsidies

Gordon Henderson and fellow Kent MPs are urging Kent County Council to rethink plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services.

The Kent MPs have written to Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, calling for the authority to explore alternative options for saving money.

The letter penned by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke and signed by ten other MPs, including Mr Henderson also seeks specific assurances on proposed cuts affecting schoolchildren.

The letter says: “We are writing as Kent MPs to request that Kent County Council reconsiders plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services across the county.

“These services are vital for elderly people, allowing them to get into towns to go shopping, visit relatives or attend doctor appointments. Schoolchildren, disabled people and low earners also face being cut off.

“While we commend the considerable savings KCC has made in recent years – necessitated by the highest budget deficit in decades left behind by Labour – we urge you to explore other practical options that avoid cutting these vital bus services.”

The MPs highlight other recent cuts to routes by KCC and commercial operators – and that further cuts are understandably causing concern amongst constituents.

They also point out that KCC’s plans contradict stated environmental aims, as well as the principles of many local quality bus partnerships the local authority has signed up to.

The letter states that KCC’s proposed cuts to subsidies are far higher than those put forward by other councils, such as Norfolk and Cheshire East.

The letter concludes: “In some areas the cuts to subsidized buses will cause significant disruption and place extra pressure on other services that are already crowded at peak times.

“We have already seen the problems caused by commercial operators’ changes to services in some areas.

“Our constituents tell us that further reductions by KCC create a real risk of people having to give up work; that elderly people will be isolated; and children will be unable to travel to school.

“There are also concerns about the impact withdrawing these services will have in areas experiencing high levels of development now and in the future.

“Therefore, we urge KCC to fully explore alternative options – and that serious consideration is given to scrapping these plans, or at least reducing their scale. We would also welcome any assurances you can give for individual services, particularly those affecting schoolchildren.”

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