Lib Dems call on Cabinet lead member to act on consultation results on free bus travel
Liberal Democrats have responded to the County Council claiming to put an extra £3m into the Concessionary Travel scheme. Under the scheme disabled and elderly residents of the County get free public transport. The scheme itself is divided between a statuary element and a local discretionary element.
Simon Galton Lib Dem Leader said: "I think the announcement needs to be read with caution, it is true the Council has assigned extra money for the scheme, but this appears to only cover the shortfall in government funds for the main statuary scheme. If so this isn't the Tories being generous, merely covering a scheme which successive governments have failed to fund properly, and leaving local tax payers to foot the bill.
The interesting point is the recent consultation; we have always highlighted the fact that residents value the extra's in the scheme which are funded locally. The consultation results confirm this with people rating free Pre-9:30 travel for the disabled, Taxi tokens for areas without access to buses and half fare on community transport, highly.
The Tory administration should stop trying to create the impression of how magnanimous they are on something they have to fund, and tell the people of Leicestershire whether or not they are going to fund these discretionary elements that people want and need.
The Liberal Democrat Group believes that there is sufficient scope in the current County budget to find the £273,000 needed, and we will be writing to the leader of the Council to outline how this can be done.
- The County will receive £4.7m in 2011/12 and £4.3m in 2012/13 to fund concessionary travel through Formula Grant. The 'extra' £3m over two years makes this up to £6m. The statuary scheme is expected to cost between £4.5 - 5.7m however this is based on giving bus operators less money.
- All current discretionary elements cost approx £500,000 per year, but the high rated services from the Consultation would cost around £273,000 p.a.