Conservatives to press for extra support for local bus services

Conservative councillors are to press Bath and North East Somerset Council to put additional investment into protecting and improving local bus services.

With councillors gearing up to thrash out the authority’s budget for the coming year at a meeting next Tuesday, 18th February, Conservatives are set to argue that support for local bus services should be a higher priority in the Council’s financial plans.

The level of funding for supported bus services was cut by £108,000 in the Liberal Democrat-run authority’s budget last year. However, Conservatives have said that due to its large budget surplus and higher than expected Council Tax collection, the Council now has the financial scope to do more to support local bus services.

With at least seventeen bus service contracts due for renewal in the next eighteen months, Conservatives have said that B&NES needs to ensure it has sufficient resources to protect local bus services from any potential cutbacks.

Conservative shadow Resources spokesman, Cllr Charles Gerrish, said:

“Over the past few weeks Conservatives have conducted an online survey asking residents for their views on what services the Council ought to prioritise. One of the things which came out of this was the need to protect and improve local bus services.

“With B&NES reporting a £1.6 million budget surplus and a further £1.9 million underspend from Council departments, we believe there is now the financial scope to do more to support local bus services. We will therefore be pressing for some extra funds to be directed to this priority as part of the Council’s forthcoming budget plans, and we are currently discussing with transport officers the best way this can be achieved.”