ACRE signs letter to George Osborne supporting need for buses
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

ACRE is a signatory along with 30 other organisations to a letter urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP to protect essential bus services, already heavily cut and relied on by many people especially in rural communities.

The associated press release of 4 June from the Campaign for Better Transport follows:

The Department for Transport statistics released under Freedom of Information show that if Government removed support for bus services as many as would result in one in seven bus journeys could be lost at a cost to the economy £3.7bn by 2022.

"There will be grave impacts on employment, education and communities. Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to protect bus funding and avoid cuts which would tip many vital services over the edge.”

With more cuts likely as part of the month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, several local authorities have begun planning for cuts to bus funding of up to 25% in the next financial year.

In practice, this would equate to a loss of 14% of passenger journeys and could spell the end of local authority support for evening services, services in smaller towns and the end of Sunday buses.

Buses have already taken significant cuts in Government support:

  • The 2011/12 Spending Review cut funding for local authorities’ transport budgets by 28%.
  • A cut of 20% to the direct support all buses receive through the Bus Service Operators Grant from came in April 2012 Reductions in support resulted directly in cuts by local councils:
  • One in five local council supported bus services were cut or cut back in 2011/12
  • Over 40% of local authorities cut bus services again in 2012/13.

With support for bus services having already faced significant cuts, there are fears that a further round of spending reductions could push many services over the edge, leading to the collapse of entire networks.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said

“If Government swings the axe at bus funding again it could spell the end for whole networks of services. There will be grave impacts on employment, education and communities. Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to protect bus funding and avoid cuts which would tip many vital services over the edge.”

Over 30 organisations have signed a letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne, calling on the Government to safeguard spending on buses. The letter sets out how essential buses are to a diverse range of groups. The letter has been signed by the heads of organisations including the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Royal National Institute of Blind People, the National Pensioners’ Convention, National Union of Students and Campaign for Better Transport.