On 24th November 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a short debate in the House of Lords on rural bus services. His opening speech is below, along with the Minister’s response. The speeches of the other eight Peers who took part can be read here.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of research published by the Local Government Association showing that subsidised bus services in England have reduced by more than 12% in the past year, what assessment they have made of the sustainability of rural communities.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords contributing their considerable expertise to this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope, whose wealth of experience is a welcome addition to this House. I declare an interest as president of the Rural Coalition and bishop of a diocese with large rural areas, some of which have seen considerable cuts in bus service provision in recent years.
As many noble Lords in this House will know first-hand, rural bus services provide a lifeline for rural communities, creating vital routes of connection to other parts of the country. For anyone who struggles to drive themselves because of age or a disability, or because they do not have a car, buses are often the only means of transport that connects rural residents with work, friends and family. With an increasing number of local services cut from rural towns and larger villages, the need to be able to connect with urban areas only increases. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on impact for rural communities of reduced bus services”