Scrutiny committee members reject call to force county council to reconsider cuts to bus subsidies

First published in News

MEMBERS of a council scrutiny committee have refused to back a call to force a county council to reconsider a decision to axe £2m from bus subsidies.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive committee last month agreed to cut subsidies paid to bus operators to run dozens of less-popular routes across the county.

Seven councillors, led by Independent Richmond county councilor Stuart Parsons, today (Friday) faced the council’s transport, economy and environment committee to call in the executive’s decision because they said no information had been made available of the likely impact on other vital services.

Following the refusal to back the call-in, Coun Parsons suggested residents stage a council tax strike to show their discontent.

Coun Parsons said: “We do not believe that the decision on January 21 was a whole council decision, and we are convinced there was a lack of evidence from children and young people’s service and elderly service providers on the potential impact this will have.”

He added: “In the whole report there is no evidence they consulted with organisations that represent our community, so we don’t know what the impact with be.”

Chris Metcalfe, executive member for public transport, said elderly people would not be left without help to get to hospital if they needed it, and that the council was not getting rid of bus services completely.

“There seems to be a message that we are in a doomsday scenario,” he said.

“Roads choked up, feral kids running all over the place, people not being able to access the Dales – the reality is 80 per cent of transport provided in the county is by a commercial business.

“We are reducing services, not withdrawing them.”

Coun Parsons said: “I’m spitting feathers – I think a council tax strike could now be an idea to launch action against the council.”

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