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Labour today (Thursday 18 December) launched ‘Passenger Power’ - a campaign to put communities and passengers in control of local bus services. Labour will hand powers back to local communities to save crucial bus routes.   

New government figures have revealed that local bus routes in the North East are being slashed on this Government's watch, leaving people stranded. 

The new figures show that compared to 2010, there were 7 million less miles of local bus services in the North East last year.    

Across England, over 1,300 bus routes have been cut since 2010.   People living in rural areas in particular are seeing their bus services disappear.   In rural areas, the number of miles of local bus service has dropped by a massive 23 per cent compared to 2010.   

At the same time, bus fares are rocketing, going up by 25 per cent since 2010 - an increase five times faster than wage growth.  Over the same period, operating costs for local bus services has stayed the same.   The new figures reveal that bus passenger fare receipts from this year were half a billion pounds more than in 2010.   And the operating revenue for the bus companies has increased by 4 per cent since 2010. 

Bus companies have been cutting crucial routes that people rely at the same time as increasing fares to maximise their own profits.  Like the energy companies, the bus market is broken.  In the North East, just three of the big bus operators have 91 per cent of the market.  

Labour is setting out a new plan for local bus services to fix the problems.   The next Labour Government will legislate to give greater control over local bus services to cities and county regions.  Through the ability to determine routes, set fares and integrate bus services with other forms of public transport, local areas will be able to provide better services at one clearly understood price.   

The campaign was launched in Redcar by Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister Gordon Marsden and Labour candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley.

Anna Turley said:

“We have seen a number of vital bus routes cut or reduced by Arriva in the Redcar constituency in recent months, including the number 64. We see small villages like Lazenby now completely cut off without any bus service whatsoever. Profit should not determine bus routes as they are a life-line for people getting to work, visiting the doctor or stopping older people becoming isolated. I welcome Labour's plans to bring buses back under the control of local communities.”  

Michael Dugher, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said: 

"Local bus services are the lifelines of our communities.

"Whilst the bus companies are coining it in, local bus routes in North East are being slashed and this Government says everything is fine. 

"The bus market is clearly broken and the way local services are provided is not fit for purpose.  Labour will stand up for passengers by changing the way things work to hand all English regions London-style powers over local bus services.  This will ensure communities get the local bus services they need."

Labour will give greater control over local bus services to cities and country regions in the North East

  Labour today (Thursday 18 December) launched ‘Passenger Power’ - a campaign to put communities and passengers in control of local bus services. Labour will hand powers back to local communities...

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on the North East Combined Authority’s vote for a Quality Contract, said:

“Buses are the forgotten backbones of our villages, towns and cities yet this Government has allowed bus fares to rise by an inflation-busting twenty five per cent since 2010.

“By voting to take back control of their buses, the North East Combined Authority is on a path to a cheaper, more frequent and more reliable bus service.

“A Labour government will make it easier for areas to improve their bus services through a Quality Contract."

North East Combined Authority is on a path to a cheaper, more frequent and more reliable bus service - Creagh

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on the North East Combined Authority’s vote for a Quality Contract, said:“Buses are the forgotten backbones of our villages, towns and cities...

NHS ambulance services across England are now spending close to double the figure on private ambulances when compared to 2012, with parts of the country seeing a ten-fold increase. 

Labour Freedom of Information requests to all ambulance trusts reveals an increase of 82% between financial years 2011/12 and 2013/14 - from £37 million to £67.5 million last year. 

Data released earlier this month by NHS England shows ambulances in some regions taking an average of almost four minutes longer to reach patients in a life-threatening condition. Parts of the country where private ambulance spending is highest are among the slowest responders to calls. 

In the North East region, spending on private ambulance services more than quadrupled to hit £2.9 million.

Yet other ambulance services maintained lowest levels of spending across the period while one even reduced its reliance on private vehicles.

Over the same period, average ambulance response times - the period between a logged call and the vehicle's arrival - increased by 51 seconds in the North East area.

Official NHS figures show that across the country even ambulances for the most serious cases are taking over a minute longer to reach patients than three years ago.

In cases where a life is threatened, the vehicle should arrive within eight minutes. The average ambulance in England now takes 6 minutes 36 seconds to reach callers - 78 seconds longer than in August 2011.

Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary said:

"These figures show just how quickly the NHS is changing under David Cameron. Blue-light ambulance services have traditionally been considered part of the public core of the NHS. It is clear that no part of the NHS is now immune to privatisation.

"When people dial 999, most would expect an NHS ambulance crew to turn up. People have never been asked whether they think blue-light ambulance services should be run by private companies. Before this practice goes any further, there should be a proper public debate about it.

"NHS paramedics have raised concerns over whether private crews have sufficient training, competence and are fully equipped. The Government needs to provide urgent answers to these questions and provide assurances that this practice is not compromising patient safety.

“Cameron's Government is driving the private sector into the core of the NHS without the permission of the public. It is wrong and should be stopped. If the Prime Minister wants to continue to subject the NHS to increasing privatisation, he must seek a specific mandate for it at the coming Election."

NHS SERVICE SPENDING ON PRIVATE AMBULANCES SOARS IN THE NORTH EAST

NHS ambulance services across England are now spending close to double the figure on private ambulances when compared to 2012, with parts of the country seeing a ten-fold increase.  Labour...

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The Northern Line

Market_Square__Penrith.jpgCould you be our candidate in Penrith & The Border at the next General Election?

We've just opened up our selection process to pick our candidate in one of the most beautiful constituencies in England. 

Applications Close: Fri 6 Jun 2014

Shortlisting Interviews: Mon 09 Jun 2014

Final Hustings and Count: Thu 10 Jul 2014

To apply please send a standard parliamentary cv to Hannah_Johnson@labour.org.uk

You can download the standard parlimentary cv from the Labour Party website at http://members.labour.org.uk/parliamentary-selections (Labour Party members only) 

Stand for Labour in Penrith & The Border

Could you be our candidate in Penrith & The Border at the next General Election? We've just opened up our selection process to pick our candidate in one of the...

Harriet Harman, our Deputy Leader visited Lee Sherriff in Carlisle earlier this week. 

Here's our Storify with the local press coverage...

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A selection of images from Labour North Regional Conference 2014

Pictures from Labour North Regional Conference 2014

A selection of images from Labour North Regional Conference 2014

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