ISHERWOOD: “GIVE COMMUNITY TRANSPORT GROUPS THE ASSURANCES THEY NEED” PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 May 2012 08:24

 

 

NORTH Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, has called on the Welsh Government to provide community transport groups, such as Denbighshire Dial-A-Ride and Flintshire’s Welsh Border Community Transport, with assurances so they can plan for the future.

 

The Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, only announced in February that funding for the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative (CTCFI)  would not end in March, as originally planned, but would continue while an evaluation of the schemes took place. Many schemes were already having to plan redundancies and cuts in essential services.

 

 

Mr Isherwood has therefore asked the Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, what assurances he can provide these schemes to ensure that there is some sustainability.

 

 

Speaking in the Chamber, he said: “While it had been understood previously that you were to end the schemes in March, a letter was then read out to the Cross-Party Group on Older People and Ageing announcing the evaluation. At the next Business Statement on 21 February, I called for a Statement on the matter, but was told that you had already made one. In fact, you had not. You made a Statement two days later on 23 February. You announced again that the funding for the projects would not end but would continue while the evaluation took place.

“How do you respond to concerns that some of those schemes are still going ahead with redundancies - cutting employed staff - because of the short notice given? What assurances can you provide that can allow those schemes that still have staff to ensure that there is some sustainability?”

The Minister replied: “I have asked for a review to be conducted because some of the passenger journey figures relating to the costs of community concessionary fares vary from a journey cost of £2.85 to a cost of £26.06, which is a significant difference. I have asked my team to explain the variance in figures to understand better the consequences of having a funding regime for concessionary fares. There has been no change to the financing of these organisations across Wales. I am, therefore, surprised that any of them are continuing with their redundancy packages.”

 

Mr Isherwood added: “The Minister completely failed to understand that employment law, budgets and business plans can not be changed at short notice when he announces last minute  u-turns and that the schemes can not run their social businesses effectively when they don’t know whether Welsh Government funding will be pulled at the end of the Minister’s evaluation.”

 

 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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