Further debate on bus row to Go Ahead

IPSWICH: Members of the borough are to be given a say on the controversial proposal to sell off part of Ipswich Buses to transport giant Go Ahead.

Paul Geater

IPSWICH: Members of the borough are to be given a say on the controversial proposal to sell off part of Ipswich Buses to transport giant Go Ahead.

The opposition Labour group at Grafton House has submitted a motion to next week's full meeting of the borough council.

The motion says: “This council is proud of Ipswich's 106-year history of municipally run public transport.

“It believes that Ipswich Buses Ltd should be run as a public service, whose priorities are providing frequent, reliable and affordable transport for the people of Ipswich and not generating dividends for shareholders.

“And it therefore calls on the council's Executive to abandon its plans to sell off a large proportion of Ipswich Buses Ltd to a private company.”

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Opposition group leader David Ellesmere said the meeting would give all councillors the chance to have their say - and hoped the debate would be held in public.

The council executive voted to sell off a minority stake in Ipswich Buses - but caused anger among the opposition because the item was discussed in private with the press and members of the public excluded.

Mr Ellesmere said: “We certainly hope this issue will be discussed openly. Given the enormous secrecy imposed by the council, this may be the only time councillors outside the small ruling clique get to vote on the future of our bus company.”

Borough deputy leader John Carnall did not expect the debate to be held in private.

He said: “We had to discuss the financial aspects in the private part of the agenda, but this looks like good old political knockabout - I'm rather looking forward to it!”

Should Ipswich Buses be sold to a private operator? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>