I was astounded by the shameless gaslighting, and brass-neck of Labour’s candidate for Whitehaven and Workington.
In his recent column he talked about limited public transport, particularly around buses. He blamed the Government for what is effectively a failure by Labour councils past and present to make the most of the significant funding opportunities up for grabs. He conveniently ‘forgot’ to mention that it his party which has decimated local services. In short, his position has less credibility than a butcher advocating for Veganuary.
Let’s remember, it was a Labour Government that slashed bus funding support in Cumbria to zero in 2008/2009. But back then Cumbria County Council was Conservative led, and it continued to support local bus services to the tune of £1.9m a year. This arrangement remained in place until Labour took control in 2013, and no sooner had they taken the reins than they slashed that funding to zero.
When a Conservative government returned to funding councils to keep bus routes viable, the Labour administration again wouldn’t take it. Indeed, there were multiple reports of Cumbria County Council sending money back or refusing to claim what amounted to a significant increase: millions of pounds.
Despite being asked to by the Government, the Labour-led county council refused to continue to pass concessionary funding directly to operators during the Covid pandemic, resulting directly in many of the recent service losses and reductions that a Conservative government are AGAIN stepping up to retain. Please bear that in mind when you consider Labour’s empty ‘Better buses for Cumberland’ claim. They could give you better buses today – they don’t want you to have them. They just want your email address.
And I do wonder if this background has anything to do with Cumberland Council being scored too low for one local operator to support a recent submission for low-emission bus funding. There are some bridges to be rebuilt, and not just for the bus services a Conservative government will save!
The Government has announced another £300 million worth of investment to protect bus services into 2025 and keep travel affordable. Yet Cumberland Council, another Labour-run local authority, is prevaricating – millions of pounds here in Cumberland, sitting there just waiting to be spent on reviving and extending bus routes. Soon we’ll be into a new financial year, and not a penny of the funding given to Cumberland at the start of this financial year will have been anywhere near a bus.
A lack of local knowledge is no excuse for misleading the West Cumbrian people in this way.
Remember: Labour whoppers are like buses: you wait ages for one, and then three come along at once.