MORE than one thousand people in the Staffordshire Moorlands have signed a petition opposing cuts to bus subsidies proposed by Staffordshire County Council.
Leek South county councillor Charlotte Atkins (Labour) said: “Buses are a lifeline in a rural county like Staffordshire – providing access to employment, education, healthcare, shopping and leisure opportunities. These are all vital to the quality of people’s lives.”
The Conservative-run county authority is proposing to make a 70 per cent cut in funding, which Coun Atkins claims will result in some people in rural areas becoming isolated.
She has delivered a petition containing 1,379 names to the county council: ” On behalf of all those who will be devastated by these cuts on bus subsidies, the most disadvantaged: the old, the young, the sick, the disabled and those on low incomes,” she said.
“Without these buses, we will be adding to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.
“That will add to the mental health problems which are already high within Staffordshire and have huge consequences for rural communties.
“We need to focus on the human and social outcomes of these ill-thought out plans.”
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council leader, Sybil Ralphs (Conservative), is also strongly opposed to the proposed cuts to bus subsidies, which she says are “not acceptable and will penalise people living in rural areas”.
She said: “People will not be able to get to hospital appointments and shopping. I have students coming to me saying they will not be able to get to college.
“We need to look at reducing some services but not early in the morning or later in the day.”