UNITE: Ian Duncan Smith callously tells unemployed to get on the Bus but the Tories are cutting them

Ian Duncan Smith callously tells unemployed to get on the Bus but the Tories are cutting bus services

Unite the union, the largest union in public transport, with over 100,00 members across local bus, tram and light rail operations, has warned that massive reductions in subsidies for local public transport schemes could result in the complete destruction of the bus as a social service.

Graham Stevenson, National Organiser for Transport in Unite said that: “Ian Duncan Smith is callously telling people to get on a bus to look for a job but the Tories are actually cutting bus services. It’s alarming that subsidies paid direct to bus operators have been cut by a massive 20%. These cuts will result in the loss of significant bus services. It means more bus services will be confined to town-based, ordinary working hours operations leading to greater social exclusion.”

Slashing local authorities’ incomes by 28%, in a separate move, means that the one fifth of bus miles outside London that rely on publicly tendered routes are at risk. These are mainly evening and weekend services, often to rural areas and remote estates.

Mr Stevenson continued: “When the Tories privatised and deregulated the buses in the late 1980s, they were forced to accept “socially necessary” tendering. This is now at risk. Cameron stands to get what Thatcher wanted the complete destruction of the bus as a social service. Unite will strongly defend its members in passenger services who struggle every day to keep the public on the road.”

Unite believes that subsidy cuts would have been even deeper if it wasn’t for the joint campaign earlier this year, which brought together Unite, RMT, the Campaign for Better Transport, the regional network body, PTEG, and Stagecoach, which forced the need to maintain bus fuel duty subsidies on the wider public agenda.

ENDS

Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315