Essex Conservatives push 14% cut in community transport; Lib Dems lead campaign against
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats
Essex County Council's Conservative group has pushed through a cut of over 14% in the funding for community transport schemes across the county. Essex Liberal Democrats "called in" the cabinet member decision for review by the scrutiny committee last Thursday (23rd March), but the Conservative majority backed the decision.
Lib Dem Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) led the Call In, saying that there had been no consultation on the scale of the cut or its impact and no time for the transport schemes to plan properly. The letter was dated 14th March, to take effect on 1st April.
Lib Dem David Kendall spoke as a Trustee of Brentwood Community Transport and said "What happened to promises to protect disabled and vulnerable people in our community?"
Cllr Kendall arranged for the managers of Brentwood and Uttlesford Community Transport schemes to attend the meeting, to explain how the cuts could affect them. They are likely to mean a number of minibuses being taken out of service around Essex, and thus lose a vital lifeline for many vulnerable people.
Tina Tickner (Manager of the Brentwood Community Transport) said that the minibus drivers don't just give lifts; they check up on their passengers if they don't answer the door, and give them a vital link to the outside world.