Subsidy cuts will spark ‘perfect storm’ in Scotland’s bus industry

18 Apr

Unite Scotland has warned the Scottish Government that a 17 per cent cut to the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) will kick-start an era of devastation for jobs and services across Scotland’s bus industry.

Unite, which represents 10,000 workers across the Scottish passenger transport sector, has spoken out ahead of tomorrow’s (Thursday 19th April) Scottish Parliamentary debate on the BSOG cuts.  On April 1st  2012 the Scottish government implemented a cut of 17% on the 2011 fuel subsidy – from £60.3 million down to £50 million – resulting in operators radically increasing their fares while placing services and employment under severe threat.

In 2010, the Scottish Government announced a funding programme for BSOG worth £66.5 million with significant investment for three years.  However, year on year this figure has been cut significantly.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, “The Scottish Government was well warned about the impact of this BSOG cut but it has forged ahead and now it’s the public and workers who will pay the price.

We are now seeing the first wave of bus operators dramatically increasing their fares on the travelling public and redundancies being announced with 200 jobs cut across First Group’s operations in East & Mid Lothian. 

This decision beggars belief in a time where everyone is affected by economic conditions.  Bus patronage is down across Scotland, fares are increasing and jobs and services are being cut – without intervention our bus industry is heading into a perfect storm.

We are urgently calling for the Scottish Government to repeal the BSOG cut as a first step to bring some short-term stability to the sector but in the long term we must revisit the issue of bus re-regulation if we are to return affordability and growth to this vital public service.

ENDS

Notes to Editors: Unite Scotland will have a delegation from its Passenger Transport Sector in attendance at the Scottish Parliament for Thursday morning’s debate.

For further information please contact Unite Regional Industrial Officers Derek Ormiston on 07810157914 & Sandy Smart on 07810157927 or the Unite Scotland Campaigns Unit on 0781015793.

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