John Pockett highlights that the £25m Bus Services Support Grant to has been provided in some form for around 50 years and is not new funding
John Pockett, Director of CPT Cymru, has written to Welsh local authority members to offer clarification, after the Welsh Government made the announcement of ‘a £25m grant’ for the Welsh bus industry, a statement which John said was misleading.
In the letter, which was addressed to Welsh local authority members of transport and Welsh Local Authority Transportation Managers (ATCO), he said: “I am writing to you to correct and clarify this unhelpful impression [of £25m of extra funding]. The funding referred to has been provided by Welsh Government to the bus industry, through our local authority partners every year since the late 1960s. Initially it was known as Fuel Duty Rebate, then as Bus Services Operators’ Grant, and subsequently, in Wales since 2013, as Bus Services Support Grant. 2013 was when the Welsh Government took over this aspect of bus support from the Department for Transport (DfT) and funded and administered it completely themselves from Cardiff.
“There is no new or extra money or special ‘boost’ in the funding this year, as implied in some parts of the media. It is no more than the normal annual support provided for the bus industry here. Indeed, in 2013, when the Welsh Government took this over from DfT, it immediately cut the amount available from £34m as in 2012-13 to £25m for 2013-14, an overnight reduction of 26%. This has been compounded since then as this funding has remained at £25m, whereas inflation over that period has totalled around 8%, so the reduction is, in effect more than one third of the level of support in 2013.
“We of course recognise that there have been challenging financial conditions in recent years, but the recent grossly misleading release and headlines give the wrong impression to our local authority partners and our stakeholders, and I hope this clarifies the true position.”