bus timetable services Nantwich bus station, where glass shelter was destroyed - pic under creative commons by Rept0n1x

Leaders of Cheshire East Council have ruled out protecting bus subsidies in their next council budget, writes Ethan Davies.

Currently, the authority spends £1.7 million on subsidising 12 routes across the borough, with many connecting villages with Nantwich and Crewe.

But in a joint statement, Cheshire East Council leader Councillor Sam Corcoran and deputy leader Councillor Craig Browne told the LDRS: “All councils are under considerable financial pressure due to the significant impact of Covid-19.

“Cheshire East Council originally forecast cost pressures on the council’s 2020/21 budget of £60 million.

“The financial impacts are currently estimated to be in the region of £50 million.

“Taking in account the government funding received to date, currently £22.4 million, the estimated shortfall this council faces stands at almost £28 million.

“Nearly a quarter of this relates to adult social care, with significant increases in other areas such as personal protective equipment, home-to-school transport and maintaining recycling and waste collections.”

Those figures were confirmed at September’s council cabinet meeting, where Corcoran also warned it is a “critical time” to avoid a second wave of Covid-19.

Current forecasts estimate the council’s loss of income from services like parking, marriage registrations, and catering will be around £13 million, with a further £9.1 million loss is predicted from reduced council tax and business rates.

The statement continued: “By law, the council has to look to balancing the books and setting a balanced budget for 2021-22.

“If adequate levels of additional government funding are not forthcoming the council will need to review all areas of its spending, including that relating to the subsidies provided to bus services in the borough.

“However, any proposals to change the spending levels across all the services would be outlined in our draft budget, which would be subject to consultation later in the autumn.

“The council has really stepped up to deliver for the people of Cheshire East during the pandemic.

“But we can’t ignore the fact that, in order to support people through this emergency, we have had to spend money that was not budgeted for at the start of the year.

“Cheshire East Council is far from unique – councils across the country are facing the same significant challenges.”

Bus services which currently receive subsidy include the 39 (Crewe-Wybunbury-Nantwich), 42 (Crewe to Leighton Hospital), 6E (Crewe to Leighton via Shavington), and the 70-73 services (Nantwich to Wrenbury, Audlem and Nantwich to Faddiley and Bunbury)

One Comment

  1. Andrew says:

    They waste money on virtue signalling PC events though. Totally corrupt council lets hope they get put in special measures soon.

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