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MP tells county council leader 'If you don't want to cut rural bus services, then don't'

March 15, 2012 3:09 PM

Tim with local residents at the modern bus shelter in Chapel StitleSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on Cumbria County Council leader Eddie Martin to practice what he preaches and guarantee to work with him to protect rural bus services.

Yesterday council leader Eddie Martin called via a press release for 'all of the county's MPs to help press the case for fair funding for bus services, otherwise he fears commercial operators will start to walkaway from providing services.'

Local MP Tim Farron has repeatedly lobbied ministers on this issue and has secured nearly £600,000 for rural transport to help protect the network.

Recently a grant of £288,000 was given to Cumbria County Council by Lib Dem Minister Norman Baker, to be spent on developing community transport services acrossCumbria. It is the second wave of Department for Transport funding for the council since April 2011, when they received another £288,000. The money will go to fund sustainable transport solutions in partnership with commercial and community groups.

Despite repeatedly receiving funds towards local bus services from the Government, the Tory-led council earlier this year tried to cut the lifeline to Levens, Sedgwick and Natland by pulling funding from the 550 and 552 routes.

Following Tim's campaign, which brought community groups, local Parish councils and councillors like Brenda Gray and Janet Willis together, the bus services were saved in Hincaster, Levens and Natland. The campaign worked with Stagecoach to divert services to make sure no community lost out.

Tim said: "Earlier this year a massive community campaign helped save these services at the 11th hour from cuts by the county council. Since then I have pushed the government to provide more funds to protect rural bus services in the South Lakes. The county council has now had nearly £600,000 and I want the council to agree that this money will be used to secure the future of the services. They are a vital community lifeline and many residents rely on them. They have the money and the means - residents now want certainty and I'm calling on the council to provide it."