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Gordon highlights success of Blackpool Transport in Commons debate on Bus Services Bill

Gordon has highlighted the successes of the Council owned Blackpool Transport to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in a Commons debate on the Government’s Bus Services Bill. Bus_Debate_1.jpg

The Bill has already been through the House of Lords where a Labour- led coalition improved the Bill by including low emission requirements for new buses and reversing Government plans to block further expansion of local authority owned bus companies.

Gordon challenged the Transport Secretary: "Will he congratulate our municipal transport company, Blackpool Transport, on not only introducing a new fleet of accessible buses, but making a profit last year of £1.38 million, £1 million of which was returned as a dividend to the council? Does not that make the case for extending rather than stifling municipal bus companies?."

The Transport Secretary replied: "The Government does not believe extending the provision of bus services to council after council is the right approach" but he did concede that in a place like Blackpool they play an important role and added "I pay tribute to Blackpool, which has also done excellent work on the tram system".

Commenting after the debate, Gordon who was previously Labour's Shadow Bus Minister, said: "I was proud to put on record the achievements of Blackpool Transport and the Council's support for it, all the more impressive at a time when Government has cut funding support to councils and for bus services severely. It's a pity that the Government are so terrified of acknowledging, as Blackpool has shown that, publicly- owned transport can provide good services and make a profit benefitting council tax payers that the Minister is continuing to try and block their expansion."

"Those achievements include the news that our tram network, modernised with money from the last Labour Government, has just hit the five million passenger mark in usage. The need to give local communities more choice and control over the big private sector companies like Stagecoach are things worth defending - so I and my colleagues in Parliament will be fighting hard in the Bus Bill to stop the Government shutting down the chance for further municipal bus companies to shine."

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