Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bus subsidy - could the Town Council take up the slack?

The short answer is yes. The Town Council does have powers to make grants to bus services.

This sounds good but there is a need to look at the actual legislation. This says:
The Community Bus Service seems interesting until I find out the driver is unpaid and the bus can only be between 8 and 16 seats.

The only other way is to use Section 137 money which allows the Town Council to spend £6.15 an elector on virtually anything it likes. It currently spends about £30k this way. The Town Council says there are 29800 electors in St Neots. I don't know where they got that figure from. The figure is nearer 21500. This would mean the Town Council should be able to spend £130,000 on Section 137 projects. With £30,000 already committed this would mean a total of £100,000 could be spent on subsidising Bus Services. Sounds good, but this money would have to be raised from the Council Taxpayer. Not so good.

The Town Council could go down the road of subsidising bus services, if it really want to. The cost would have to paid through higher local taxes in St Neots. In the end it would be up to St Neots residents whether they wanted this to happen and would wantto pay the extra tax.

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