FOI request shows the extent of damage to the economy if BSOG is cut
Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has obtained Government information which it claims shows the scale of the threat to bus services if funding is cut in next month’s Spending Round.
The Freedom of Information request to the DfT shows if BSOG is cut, one in seven bus journeys would be lost. This would cost the economy £3.7bn by 2022.
Abolition of BSOG was threatened in the 2010 Spending Review but saved due to pressure from a range of organisations and MPs. Now over 30 organisations, including the WI, the RNIB and the National Union of Students, have written to the Chancellor demanding he maintain support for bus services in this year’s Spending Round.
Modelling by the Local Government Association suggests further pressure on LA funding could see councils cutting their support for bus services. Estimates of even a 25% cut in local council support for buses show this would reduce passenger journeys by 14%. CBA says it would spell the end of LA support for evening services, services in smaller towns and the end of Sunday buses as authorities struggle to make ends meet.
Buses have already taken significant cuts in Government support:
- The 2011/12 Spending Review cut funding for local authorities’ transport budgets by 28%; and
- A cut of 20% to the direct support all buses receive through BSOG from April 2012.
Reductions in support resulted directly in cuts by local councils:
- One in five local council supported bus services were cut or cut back in 2011/12; and
- Over 40% of local authorities cut bus services again in 2012/13.
With support for bus services having already faced significant cuts, there are fears a further round of spending reductions could push many services over the edge, leading to the collapse of entire networks.
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, CBT, said: “If Government swings the axe at bus funding again it could spell the end for whole networks of services. There will be grave impacts on employment, education and communities. CBT is calling on the Government to protect bus funding and avoid cuts which would tip many vital services over the edge.”