South Tyneside MPs join forces to fight Government ban on new public bus companies

MP's Emma Lewell-Buck and Stephen Hepburn with Public Transport Users Group campaigners

MP's Emma Lewell-Buck and Stephen Hepburn with Public Transport Users Group campaigners

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South Tyneside’s MPs have gave their backing to a campaign opposing a Government ban on new publicly-owned bus companies.

Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck have joined forces with South Tyneside Public Transport Users Group protesting against clause 21 of the current Bus Services Bill.

It should be about passengers not profit.

Stephen Hepburn MP

If given the go ahead, it will stop local authorities from setting up new municipal bus companies.

The clause has already been defeated in the House of Lords, but has been re-introduced in the House of Commons.

Buses are privatised in most towns and cities across the UK. However, there are 12 local authority-owned bus companies with local authority run buses winning Bus Operator of the Year at the Bus Awards.

Research from Transport for Quality of Life suggests the country could save £506 million a year from buses outside London by bringing them into public ownership.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said “It’s absurd that after 30 years of the failures of private bus companies, the government is ruling out new public ownership of buses. It’s time to take control of our buses and run them for people not profit. All councils should be not just allowed but encouraged to follow the lead of the public ownership success stories in Nottingham and Reading. I’d also like to thank the Tyne and Wear Public Transport Group who have worked so hard to keep this issue in the public eye.”

Mr Hepburn MP added: “One of the biggest issues facing residents in South Tyneside is the cost of bus services. It should be about passengers not profit.”