Responding to the Chancellor’s infrastructure funding announcement which will see investment in roads and the creation of a national bus strategy, Councillor Howard Sykes, LGA Liberal Democrat Group Leader, said:
“With the number of bus journeys at the lowest level in over a decade, a national bus strategy is an important step towards improving local bus services. For it to succeed, it has to be backed by financial support to local areas.
“Councils face a £652 million funding gap in providing the concessionary bus fare scheme, which is putting nearly half of all bus routes at risk. It is vital this scheme is properly funded so councils can protect bus routes and reinvest in local networks.
“The Government spends 43 times per mile more on maintaining our national roads – which make up just 3 per cent of all roads – than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97 per cent of England’s road network
“With councils facing a £9 billion local roads repair backlog, we also need to see the government investment in national roads announced today matched by at least the same investment in local roads, if we are to make the long-term improvements our country’s road networks desperately need.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Tim Farron added: “After being starved of funding by the Government, local councils have to make the decision between subsidising bus services and spending money on adult social care.
“They are a vital community lifeline especially for older residents.
“Therefore a national bus strategy is to be welcomed – but it needs to be matched with serious investment.”