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MPs intervene in row about cuts to bus services in Kent

By Paul Francis

Kent MPs are urging Kent County Council to rethink plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services.

They have written to Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, calling for the authority to explore alternative options for saving money.

In an extraordinary move, the letter penned by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke and signed by 10 other MPs also seeks specific assurances on proposed cuts affecting school children.

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Kent County Council was considering plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services across the county
Kent County Council was considering plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services across the county

The letter says: “We are writing as Kent MPs to request that Kent County Council reconsiders plans to cut subsidies to 78 bus services across the county.

“These services are vital for elderly people, allowing them to get into towns to go shopping, visit relatives or attend doctor appointments. schoolchildren, disabled people and low earners also face being cut off.”

The letter states that KCC’s proposed cuts to subsidies are far higher than those put forward by other councils, such as Norfolk and Cheshire East.

The letter concludes: “In some areas the cuts to subsidized buses will cause significant disruption and place extra pressure on other services that are already crowded at peak times.

“We have already seen the problems caused by commercial operators’ changes to services in some areas.

“Our constituents tell us that further reductions by KCC create a real risk of people having to give up work, that elderly people will be isolated and children will be unable to travel to school.

“There are also concerns about the impact withdrawing these services will have in areas experiencing high levels of development now and in the future.

“Therefore, we urge KCC to fully explore alternative options – and that serious consideration is given to scrapping these plans, or at least reducing their scale.

"We would also welcome any assurances you can give for individual services, particularly those affecting schoolchildren.”

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