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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Call to protest against cuts to bus subsidies for Barrow college pupils

PARENTS of Barrow college students are being urged to protest against cuts to bus services which could cost them £1,000 per year.

Proposals to withdraw all subsidies to rural bus services – which could save £1.9m per year – were announced by Cumbria County Council as part of a consultation on ways to slash £24m from its budget in the next financial year.

Six routes in Millom and Haverigg are under threat, including a service from Market Square to Barrow which carries sixth form students to Furness College and Barrow Sixth Form.

Millom mayor, Councillor Brian Crawford, said: “A double-decker bus leaves Millom Market Square every morning in term time at around 7.30am full of post-16 pupils going to Barrow Sixth Form College and Furness College.

“Proposition 19 states that the county council will withdraw its subsidy to new post-16 pupils from September 2014.”

Councillor Crawford said if the subsidy was lost it would cost parents more than £1,000 per year for each pupil, meaning many would not or could not pay.

He accused the Labour and Lib Dem county councillors of penalising rural communities and suggested the move would increase youth unemployment in Millom.

He said: “This will have a serious financial impact on the parents of these pupils if they have to pay for five return journeys to Barrow each week during term time.

“Millom and surrounding affected communities are part of a very deprived area with low average income.”

A county council spokesman said previously: “The council is having to find another £80m of savings over the next three years on top of the £88m we have already made, and at the moment our priority is protecting the most vulnerable people in our society, including young children and the elderly. Difficult decisions have to be made.”

The services subsidised by the county council include four number seven buses between Barrow, Millom and Haverigg, the X6 Sunday service from Millom to Whitehaven, and the M1 – M3 service between Millom and Haverigg.

Cllr Crawford said: “Any concerned parent, pupil or teacher can communicate their response to this proposition by providing me with supporting documentation either in the form of single or joint letters or petitions, delivered to my home before Thursday February 13.”

Anyone interested can deliver a petition to 16 Lancashire Road, Millom.

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