County Hall delays bus cut decision

Kent County Council’s (KCC) Cabinet has further delayed a decision to cut subsidies to around 48 bus services, referring the matter back to the full Council later this month.

KCC’s governing body met yesterday (Tuesday) morning at 10am after a backbench committee called for a rethink and urged the authority to reconsider its plans, which were meant to come into force in mid-October in a programme that is planned to save County Hall £3million.

Bus subsidies had been one of the casualties in the County’s budget announced in February, when the Cabinet cited ‘severe’ spending pressures and ring-fenced spending for adult social care and health services.

KCC carried out a consultation about the subsidised services it had identified for cancellation and ended up with a list of 48 bus subsidy contracts to cut.

The budgetary decision on subsidised services came at the same time as a number of commercial bus operators announced service cuts.

However, opposition councillors made an official ‘call out’ and the KCC Supported Bus Funding Review was brought to the scrutiny committee in August.

When Cabinet met yesterday (September 6) to decide whether to rescind KCC’s decision on subsidised bus cuts, the portfolio holder for Highways and Transport, Cllr David Brazier (Sevenoaks Rural North East) recommended that the matter go back to Full Council on September 15.

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