Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has today written to Lancashire County Council Leader Jennifer Mein and County Councillor John Fillis, the Cabinet Member for Highways, with his opposition to proposals to remove subsidies from local bus services.
In his letter Mr Evans wrote,
‘I do not need to tell you that the Ribble Valley is a rural area and is much more sparsely populated than many other parts of Lancashire, with those living there often travelling large distances to attend work, school, conduct business or even to visit the local shop. In such areas public transport takes on a particular importance, as without it many people would be simply unable to live their lives.
My reaction when hearing of the proposals, and current consultation, by Lancashire County Council was therefore one of absolute horror. To set conditions that will result in the removal of these services from rural communities would be a grave error, and one which would leave elderly and vulnerable residents without a means of independence or movement.
Furthermore, it is also worth noting that residents in the Ribble Valley contribute well above average in terms of the amount of Council Tax raised per head when compared to other parts of the county. So not only are these services more vital in such a rural area, but they are also serving an area which pays more than its fair share towards Lancashire County Council’s budget.’
Speaking from Westminster this morning Mr Evans said,
“I do not want this issue to become a party political one, and believe very strongly that local residents would take a very dim view if this were the case. I have therefore asked both Councillor Mein and Councillor Fillis to meet me at their earliest opportunity to discuss how these changes could be avoided.
These bus services in rural areas such as the Ribble Valley are absolutely vital for local communities, and I will fight to protect them.”