Norfolk bus subsidy cut raised in select committee

Chloe Smith MP. Photo: Bill Smith Chloe Smith MP. Photo: Bill Smith

Annabelle Dickson Political editor
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
6:30 AM

Setting generations against each other over bus funding will not produce good results for either of them, a transport lobby boss has said.

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Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, made the comments during an evidence session into passenger transport in isolated communities following a question by committee member and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

During the first oral evidence session of the select committee Ms Smith, who has joined the other Norfolk MPs to campaign against proposed Norfolk County Council bus subsidy cuts, said: “There is a policy kicking around in Norfolk at the moment which seeks to remove some of the subsidy from young people’s services going to 16 to 19 education. Obviously elsewhere in the public service world young people are being asked to stay on in education. Here we have a classic problem of balancing one generation’s needs against others in an array of decisions that are all related to really tough public finance.”

Council cabinet members say the subsidy has been “forced on the council” by cuts to government funding, but they would like to pull back from it if finances allow.

Mr Joseph said: “We carried out work for the Inter-Generational Foundation. Our conclusion was setting generations against each other would not necessarily result in good results for either of them.”

He said where local authorities had moved away from dedicated services, both generations had benefited. He gave an example in Hertfordshire, where dedicated school transport had been made into ordinary services which could be commissioned by schools so older people could use them too. “You can bring together revenue schemes across generations,” he said. He also added that there was not enough marketing done for subsidised services.

He said: “Where local authorities have got together and marketed networks of services, they have been able to get people back on to buses that have not been there for a long time.” Ms Smith has called for other submissions about issues relating to rural transport from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the House of Commons committee, which she became a member of last year after standing down as a minister.

11 comments

  • Why are the edp blocking comments and allowing fools like Watson to spread rubbish

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Does she know what she meant because I'm blowed if I do.

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    guella

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Watson there is to much back room waste and your lot are famous for it. Your mate Knobbs needs to sort his act out instead of blaming everybody else

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • When will this council learn that it can not hold the public to ransom, they have to sort out there silly ideas and stop trying to run before it can walk. Stop your silly spending, sell your airfield and shelve all major plans for at least 12 to 24 months. You also carry to many staff and your back room costs are to high, stop blaming everybody else and get on with it.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • The oldest central government trick in the book,cut the money to councils and then blame then for the cuts it has forced them to make.No amount of Chloe Smith lovebombing can hide the Stalinist centralism of her government.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Why wasnt Castle dragged to this meeting to explain ?. After all, he is good at mouthing it off to the EDP.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Does she know what she meant because I'm blowed if I do.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • She hasn't a clue. Though she did get her photo in the paper again.

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    beverley

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • "balancing one generation’s needs against others in an array of decisions that are all related to really tough public finance.” Yes, Ms Smith that's you describing the BIG problem, not offering a solution. And the problem is being compounded by your government. Do something rather than state the bleeding obvious and continue to blame local politicians who you now don't want to be friends with because they are the wrong political colour!

    Report this comment

    devil's advocate

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • Does she know what she meant because I'm blowed if I do.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Ms. Smith should explain why the central cuts are hitting and the treasury fails to tackle 120 billion of tax scrounging and off shoring.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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