6 December 2019
RMT Press Office:
RMT endorses TUC report exposing how funding for local bus services has been halved in some regions.
Bus union RMT has endorsed a report published today by the TUC which exposes the fact that funding for local bus services has been cut by over half in some English regions since 2010. RMT says that the report will provide important ammunition in the union campaign for expanded and publicly-owned bus services across the UK.
The analysis shows that across England as a whole funding for bus routes is down by £154 million (-14%) as a result of Conservative cuts to local government funding. Council funding for key local services – including transport – has been slashed by £7.8bn since the turn of the decade. The impact of these cuts is borne out by shocking reports of services ripped to shreds by RMT members on the front line.
More than 3,000 local bus routes in Britain have been lost or reduced over the past decade. This is despite the fact that almost 60% of journeys on public transport in Britain are made on buses.
Meanwhile, private bus companies have continued to pay out dividends, despite cuts to services
The TUC report says that despite cuts to local services private bus operators are still paying large sums to shareholders. In 2017 around £150 million was paid out to shareholders of Stagecoach, First, Go Ahead, Arriva and National Express – the five biggest private bus companies.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary said:
“The TUC research shows that the privatisation and deregulation of the bus industry has failed. Despite massive cuts to services since 2010, the private bus companies have continued to pay out hundreds of millions in dividends to shareholders.
“We need a national bus strategy underpinned by public ownership. I welcome the commitments from the Labour Party to restore the bus routes axed by the Tories and allowing councils to take their bus networks into public ownership.”