Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, has welcomed Labour’s pledge to invest £1.3bn a year in bus services, once in Government.
For many people, local bus services are a lifeline – particularly those living in rural areas, young people, the elderly, and people with disabilities. More journeys are made on buses than on any other form of public transport: 4.36 billion journeys were made in England in 2017/18. Buses are crucial to the economic prosperity and social wellbeing of our towns and cities.
Despite the clear need for efficient and affordable bus services in our communities, in the last nine years of Conservative-led Government over 3,000 routes have been cut or withdrawn and bus fares have soared.
Public transport is key to combating climate change, yet bus funding has been slashed while road building and car use is increasing. Labour’s bus funding pledge is a part of Labour’s commitment to end the air pollution crisis and tackle climate change.
Labour will restore bus revenue funding in real terms to its 2010 level, before it suffered cuts by successive Tory chancellors. In addition, the next Labour Government will put in as much funding over and again, to set bus services on an improving trajectory, so they can provide the quality of transport our communities, towns and cities need in order to prosper.
The policy will be funded through Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) revenue. VED is scheduled to be hypothecated to a new Roads Fund from 2020-2021 to be spent on road building. Labour would widen this hypothecation to a Sustainable Transport Fund, from which this would be funded. Labour can use our National Transformation Fund to invest in road building.
Faisal Rashid MP said:
“For too long, our bus services have been neglected by the Conservative Government. For too long, the needs of the communities who heavily rely on these local bus services have been ignored.
“At a time when we need urgent action to tackle climate change, measures to improve bus usage are absolutely essential. The Government should be taking steps to encourage more people to use buses instead of their cars and in doing so helping to cut congestion and air pollution, not cutting or withdrawing bus routes that are relied upon by many.
“In Government, Labour will invest in our bus services with new funding of £1.3bn per year to reverse the cuts made to 3,000 bus routes by the Tories since 2010. Labour will also fund the expansion of new bus services, investing in these services so that they can provide the quality of transport our communities, towns and cities need in order to prosper.
“Labour’s funding pledge is great news for my constituents. This is an issue that has been raised with me time and time again by local people and I have been feeding the comments I receive back to the Shadow Labour Transport team. I am delighted that the team has listened to these comments and is acting decisively to tackle the issue. This is an excellent policy announcement which demonstrates what a Labour Government would do to help my constituents and our communities thrive.