Stroud Labour has called for an emergency plan for buses after it was announced today Gloucestershire County Council had failed in its bid to receive funding from the Government’s “Bus Back Better” scheme.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Group Cllr Wendy Thomas said: “This is a devastating development for bus users, who have endured endless cancellations and delayed services over the last six months, resulting in thousands of residents being unable to get to school, work, hospital appointments or leisure activities.

“They have dutifully contributed to multiple county council consultations on the Bus Service Improvement Plan during this period – the findings of which show the need for increased frequency of bus services, including a minimum hourly, peak time bus services for most areas across the county, as well as more demand-responsive transport options for isolated rural areas.

“To simply say that ‘there will be opportunities for future funding’ and that ‘We remain committed to improving and supporting the many bus services we have in the county’ is not enough.

“And while the blame for this lies with the Conservative government, which has slashed the original funding for Bus Back Better, our Conservative-led county council must go back to the drawing board and devise an emergency plan for how they will deliver on the promises made in the BSIP.”

Labour Group Leader Cllr John Bloxsom said: “The Conservative Council rejected Labour’s budget amendment in February. Labour sought additional spending on buses. The Conservatives opposed Labour’s budget proposal explicitly on grounds that the BSIP Government Grant would be £30 – £40 million. This has been a false promise and we now have a crisis.”

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