East Lothian 'working tirelessly to protect bus service' while Glasgow play blame game
SNP MSPs on the East and West of Scotland have used this morning’s Labour debate to detail their contrasting experiences with their local Councils in providing adequate bus provision.
South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse has praised East Lothian Council for working tirelessly to protect bus services for its communities.
In stark contrast to Labour-run Glasgow City Council, East Lothian have worked closely with Midlothian Council and the Scottish Government to develop a number of radical options to ensure that bus service provision remains in its rural areas, including a proposed East Lothian Bus Company.
Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council has come under fire for failing to ensure that their local bus companies bid for the £1.8m Green Bus Fund. Similar buses used by Lothian Buses, who were one of the successful bidders announced last week, reduced fuel costs by around 30%.
The South Scotland MSP praised the SNP council’s quick reaction to First Scotland East’s announcement to discontinue some services in East and Mid Lothian.
Commenting, Mr Wheelhouse said: “East Lothian Council must be praised for getting round the table so quickly with the Scottish Government and First Scotland East to discuss possible solutions in order to minimise impact on jobs and commuters.
“A ground-breaking idea was mooted for a public bus service to run on non-commercial routes to ensure people who depend on buses to get to work, do their shopping or to generally get about.
“The leader of East Lothian Council Paul McLennan has pledged to protect and support his communities and committed they would not be without services in June.
“But what we desperately need is a fuel duty regulator to stabilise fuel costs for all forms of transport – something proposed by the SNP but voted against from by all of the opposition parties.
“This is needed urgently to deliver relief on soaring fuel prices and help hard-pressed commuters and transport companies.
“One way the SNP is helping bus companies lower fuel costs is through our Green Bus Fund.
“It was disappointing First Glasgow failed to apply for the second round of this funding.
“Last year the Scottish Government funded 48 new low carbon buses and the second round of funding is backing a further 26."
Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan, who also spoke in today’s debate, said: “Labour’s complete incompetence in Glasgow was plain to see in this debate. They’ve done nothing but stamp their feet and try and blame others.
“By contrast, East Lothian Council have shown what can be done if councils work together and with the Scottish Government to achieve positive outcomes.
“Of course, for 13 years at Westminster, Labour did absolutely nothing about spiralling fuel costs, and they repeatedly blocked SNP plans for a fuel duty regulator – now they wonder why some bus services are under threat.
“People in Glasgow are becoming more and more aware how ill-served they are by the negative, obstructive Labour-run Council and its narrow partisan politics. What a breath of fresh air it would be to have a council that is actually willing to work with others to drive our City forward."
see details of lack of Green Bus Fund bids from Glasgow, see here http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/surprise-over-lack-of-green-bus-fund-bids-from-city.17246046
Details of the work being done between East Lothian Council, Transport Scotland and others can be found here http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/Talks-on-Lothian-bus-services