Let's stop cutting off people in rural areas

THE decision on public transport subsidy cuts, effectively ending many bus services across Malvern Hills, was delayed on February 6, 2014.

This follows a previous subsidy cut of £2.5 million in 2011.

While the Tory-led county council attempted to sneak through a consultation on bus cuts over Christmas, I am proud that the local Labour party, through adverts in the media and canvassing residents, exposed these stealth cuts to the people of Malvern enabling more to respond and postpone the cuts.

From that consultation it was shown that 29 per cent of buses across Malvern are used to access education and 20 per cent for health services.

If buses were cut, 55 per cent of people who responded to the survey would have no access to alternative transport, cutting them off from schools, doctors and hospitals.

Bus cuts worsen rural isolation. Cuts to all public services have meant there are fewer services in all localities; even people in urban areas may not have access to all services without public transport.

This threat not only affects those out of towns but those in towns, such as Upton which the county is suggesting is left without buses altogether.

Our Conservative MP says she would like a Third World bus service with ‘easier’ operator licences allowing anyone to set up the routes they choose.

I believe we must maintain the bus services that we need. We've had too many cuts already which have deepened rural isolation and private mini-buses are not the answer for people already facing a cost of living crisis.

The decision has been delayed. Buses will continue only until September so we must continue to let county councillors and the incumbent MP know that Malvern and surrounding area needs its buses.

Let’s stop cutting jobs and cutting off residents across Malvern Hills.

Daniel Walton

Parliamentary candidate

West Worcestershire Labour Party

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