The government is currently trying to change legislation so that local authorities would be banned from starting up bus companies.
The Lib Dem group will call for cross party support on Wednesday against these proposals. We will ask the Council to publicly challenge the plans and to write to the relevant government ministers in protest at these plans.
Any council at some point in the future could find that it has to set up services should there be no local private companies willing or able to run services. The remove this ability is clearly a political move by the Tory Government, and it is unacceptable. Indeed many rural areas of the Country could be aversely hit – ironically many of which are normally Conservative leaning in their views.
Private companies frequently find it difficult to set up bus services in rural areas, and if we remove the ability of a local council to do this then we in effect shut down localism – precisely the opposite of what this government professes to support.
The Link 2 service operated by the Council in County Durham offers a prime example of a service which has been set up to fill a gap in services. I would hate to think that in other areas, should a council wish to, services could not be set up, or become far more difficult to set up, leaving the vulnerable, disabled or the elderly stranded.
We hope all councillors will support our motion, which Cllr Richard Ormerod is proposing.