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Bus Route Fears as Budget Cut

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6:03am 1st December 2011

There are fresh fears for the future of Cornish bus routes.

It is after the council cut £3.5m from its transport budget.

Opponents say routes in north Cornwall and other rural services are most vulnerable.

Alex Folkes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said, "Cornwall Council seems to regard a bus as invisible as soon as it crosses the border into Devon. So a bus linking with Treliske Hospital gets marks on their scoring system. A bus linking with Derriford or Devon and Exeter does not despite the fact that these are the local hospitals for some Cornish residents. This puts buses that link with Devon at much more risk of the chop.

"When officers ran a sample range of bus routes through the calculations rural services scored lowest and services in North Cornwall were particularly vulnerable. Liberal Democrats have argued that the needs of very rural areas need to be taken properly into account. For many people a bus is literally their only way into or out of their village - to work, to the shops or to see family and friends. We fear that the Conservative-led administration are preparing to axe many rural routes."

Council leader Alec Robertson said, “We are well on track to save the £88.5m planned for this year, £78.5 million of which has come from management and efficiency savings and not from frontline services.  While those councils which put off making difficult decisions last year by raiding their reserves are are now suffering the consequences of their actions and being forced to close much loved services such as libraries and leisure centres, we can set a budget for growth.”

Councillors also indicated that they are likely to freeze Council Tax for another year, in return for £6m from the government. A final decision will not be made on that until February.

6:03am 1st December 2011

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