Wednesday, November 07, 2007
CUTS, CUTS, CUTS
First the County Council cut its subsidy to the evening and Sunday services of the No 5 bus. The new timetable with reduced services has been in effect since 1st November. Hampshire County Council has a problem with overspend on the Adult Services budget and the Environment Department had to find its share of savings – it was told to save £500,000 from its total budget of £60m (itself up £1.5m from the previous year). It chose to make ALL the savings on public transport, resulting in reductions in service right across the county, including the No 5 here in Olivers Battery and Badger Farm!
Next, Winchester City Council has also found itself in a financial hole and has decided to reduce the hours of use for elderly persons’ bus passes. Instead of being able to use them between 9am and midnight, bus pass holders will have to limit their travel times to between 9.30am and 11.00pm. So much for early appointments at the doctor, the dentist or even the bank!
Back to the County again, this time the cut is at the Tower Arts Centre. This local centre has played a vital and vibrant role in Winchester’s cultural life for many years. Now the County Council wants to stop its £100,000 annual subsidy to the Tower and hand management over to King’s School, losing the evening cultural programme in the process. A packed public meeting in the Guildhall on 1st November heard many heartfelt speeches in support of the Tower and some feeble excuses from the County Council. As was pointed out, Hampshire County Council spends more than £4m on publicity (telling us how good it is) but can’t find £100,000 to support the Tower.
I will continue to campaign for improving the bus service, maintaining the existing hours for bus passes and for a secure future for the Tower.