Wednesday, July 9, 2014
In yet more evidence of cuts to public services under the guise of ‘austerity’, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is seeking to reduce its subsidy for bus services from £2.9m to £700,000 by April 2015. The proposals will see fares rise by 30%, services reduced and people in rural communities increasingly isolated. Some routes will change from a daily service to twice-weekly, and Sunday services will be cut.
As usual with ESCC, this latest proposal will particularly affect the most vulnerable: teenagers, young parents, those with disabilities, senior citizens and those on low wages for whom private transport is unaffordable. At a time when the council has ploughed £56m into the building of the Bexhill Link Road, such an attack on essential services for ordinary people seems inexplicable. But if you go to the ESCC website and take a look at the councillors in the key positions of power, you will see why. Middle-aged, male and well-fed, they could not be less in touch with the man on the Clapham omnibus if they came from Jupiter. It is, of course, East Sussex that is projected to soon have the first town – Uckfield - where nobody under the age of 45 will be able to afford to live.
I suppose we should always expect little thought for the less well-off from the nasty party: after all, it was Thatcher who said that any person still travelling by bus beyond the age of 26 should consider themselves a failure. But what of the ‘People’s Army’? The swathe of UKIP candidates elected to the county council last year are surely sticking up for ordinary folk? Of course not. Standing on a narrow policy of opposition to the EU and immigration, when it comes to a real issue that affects the daily lives of the people they are supposed to represent, they are clueless and powerless.
East Sussex County Council is consulting on its proposals until 28th September 2014. You can read the details and voice your opposition here.