21 February 2011
A diverse group of charities and organisations have united in a letter to the Prime Minster to urge him to do more to protect local buses as spending cuts look set to drastically reduce services.
The letter from Campaign for Better Transport and signed by a range of organisations including AgeUK, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign for Real Ale, Citizens Advice, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, National Children’s Bureau, TUC, Women's Institute and The Ramblers Association, highlights the social, economic and environmental impacts of cuts to council-run bus services and calls on David Cameron to do more to protect the bus network to prevent irreparable damage to our most popular form of public transport.
The letter comes just weeks after Campaign for Better Transport launched a national Save Our Buses campaign and as councils in England are making their final budget decisions. Save Our Buses estimates that 70 per cent of councils are looking to bus services as an area to make cuts. Local authorities fund socially necessary, yet non-commercial routes, which tend to be rural, evening and weekend services.
Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport chief executive, said: "I think it's clear from the variety of organisations who have signed the letter that bus cuts will affect everyone, whether you live in a city or the countryside, are employed or unemployed, young or old and crucially even if you are not a bus passenger. Failing to protect our local bus network could cost us dearly in terms of the social, economical and environmental consequences. We urge the Prime Minster to accept that central government has a share of the responsibility for this situation and can play a role in avoiding the worst impacts of these cuts."
Notes to Editors
1. The letter to David Cameron PM is signed by Campaign for Better Transport, Action with Communities in Rural England, AgeUK, British Youth Council, Bus Users UK, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign for Real Ale, Community Transport Association UK, Campaign for National Parks, Citizens Advice, Friends of the Earth, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Greenpeace, Living Streets, National Children’s Bureau, National Federation of Women's Institutes, National Pensioners Convention, National Council of Women of Great Britain, Road Peace, RMT, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Sustrans, The Ramblers Association, Trades Union Congress, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, UK Youth Climate Coalition, UNITE and UNISON.
2. Save Our Buses is a campaign from Campaign for Better Transport that makes the case for buses to Government decision-makers and supports local campaign groups to fight bus cuts in their area. To view the interactive map to see bus cuts in your area.
4. Buses are under threat on three different fronts:
- Local Authority Cuts
Local authorities provide buses that are socially necessary, but not commercially viable. Cuts to local authority budgets mean many councils are reducing these services or axing them altogether.
- Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG)
The Government provides bus companies with a fuel duty rebate. The Government announced in the spending review that BSOG will be cut by 20 per cent from 2012, which will effectively mean a 51 per cent increase in fuel duty costs for bus operators. This increase will ultimately be passed on to passengers or result in less profitable services being cut.
- Concessionary fares
Local transport authorities receive Government funding to compensate bus operators for statutory entitlements to free travel for pensioners and disabled people in England. The Government is changing the way it calculates the funding, which means bus operators will receive less money and may cut services as a result. Discretionary concessionary passes, such as those for young people, are funded by local councils and a number of these schemes have already been axed.
5. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).