Online petition fights plans for bus service cuts
A PETITION has been launched online to fight planned bus service cuts in Cornwall.
Stop The Cuts To Bus Services In Cornwall & West Penwith, an e-petition created by Katherine Gray, on the HM Government website, has already received nearly 450 signatures.
It has been created in light of the cuts to bus services by Cornwall's two major providers – First Group and Western Greyhound – which will see the withdrawal of 13 services across the county. One hundred thousand signatures are needed to force a parliamentary debate on the subject.
The cuts have been made following a £500,000 reduction by Cornwall Council in the funding available to support bus services in this current financial year.
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The authority said it had to make further savings of £196m to its budget by 2019. In her description of the petition online, Ms Gray said she was asking the Government to reinstate a cut in bus service subsidies to the council so that bus service providers could continue offering a full service.
She said the bus cuts will cause "unemployment, lower employment prospects, damage the local economies of rural communities and has the potential to cause social exclusion for many people living in these areas".
Ms Gray added: "Cornwall Council has instigated drastic cuts to bus services in Cornwall, specifically to supported services in rural areas. West Penwith will lose one bus operator and many of its rural routes, although there are many other rural communities within Cornwall which will also suffer such cuts. This is due to a cut in subsidy from the Government.
"To drastically cut rural supported bus services will cause unemployment, lower employment prospects, damage the local economies of rural communities and has the potential to cause social exclusion for many people living in these areas.
"I want the Government to reinstate with immediate effect, the supported services subsidies paid to Cornwall Council for public bus transport to a financially appropriate level to which bus companies can then continue to provide rural bus services to the areas of Cornwall affected."
A council spokesman said that while it was doing its best to protect essential frontline services, it is "impossible to make this level of savings without affecting some services".