Minister wades into bus row

A TRANSPORT minister today entered the row over bus services in Ipswich after attacking the cuts, in the House of Commons.Gillian Merron, who is responsible for buses at the Department for Transport, told the House: “I regret the council's decision, but I commend My Honourable Friend Chris Mole for being a strong voice for his constituents.

A TRANSPORT minister today entered the row over bus services in Ipswich after attacking the cuts, in the House of Commons.

Gillian Merron, who is responsible for buses at the Department for Transport, told the House: “I regret the council's decision, but I commend My Honourable Friend Chris Mole for being a strong voice for his constituents.

“I hope that the good people of Ipswich will express themselves, as I am sure they will, in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time.”

Earlier, the Ipswich MP had told MPs about the decision of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration at the borough to withdraw profits from Ipswich Buses and demand that the company pays a substantial rent on its headquarters.

He said: “That will have a huge impact on services. The proposals are enormously regrettable and there has been much hostile reaction from my constituents.

“They will mean that-whereas we were able to launch six new vehicles last month-there will be no investment in new vehicles for the period of the plan (four years).

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“Despite the fine words about the environment of the Conservatives and Liberals who run our council, they plan to do something else.

“It is time to put an end to that, so I hope that the good people of Ipswich will put every pressure on Ipswich borough council to reverse the proposal because it would be enormously damaging to all people who use buses for leisure, to get to work and in every aspect of their daily lives.”

Mr Mole told the House that Ipswich Buses was a well-respected, popular company which was able to respond to the needs of the town's residents.

“If this debate had been held last month, I might have been tempted to say that Ipswich could provide some glimpses into the future of bus services.

“Buses provide an alternative to private car use on some journeys, and they are very useful for getting people to work or to the shops.”

They were speaking during a debate on the future of buses before the House of Commons broke up for week-long recess.

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