Ipswich bus cuts meeting

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to take a dividend from Ipswich Buses are set to be at the heart of a stormy debate this week.Members of Ipswich council are to debate the issue at a full meeting of the borough tomorrow after the authority's budget has been set.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to take a dividend from Ipswich Buses are set to be at the heart of a stormy debate this week.

Members of Ipswich council are to debate the issue at a full meeting of the borough tomorrow after the authority's budget has been set.

The motion has been lodged by Labour group leader David Ellesmere - although he accepts it could have little effect on the future of the bus company.

The borough has told the company, which it owns, that it wants to take a dividend from the company and to charge it rent for its Constantine Road headquarters.


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That has prompted the company to warn this would force it to find cost savings of £400,000 a year.

A note from managing director Malcolm Robson to the board warned it could force some services to be axed next spring, three jobs to be lost and the company to introduce a freeze on the purchase of new buses for the next four years.

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The motion is to be debated at the end of tomorrow's council meeting and Mr Ellesmere accepted that bus company's fate would effectively be sealed earlier in the meeting.

He said: “If the council votes in favour of the budget, it will effectively be voting for the cuts to bus services. So from that point of view there isn't much that our motion can do.

“But it will give councillors the chance to say where they stand on the bus issue.”

Borough transport spokesman Paul West welcomed the opportunity for the debate: “I think this will give us the chance to explain what is happening and to have a sensible debate on bus services in the town.

“There has been a lot of scaremongering, and hopefully we can put people's minds at rest,” he said.

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