South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck demands town gets fair share of £3billion bus funding
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has demanded the town get its fair share of the £3billion funding for buses announce by the Government this week.
The Government announced its new bus strategy on March 15, which Ministers said was backed by £3billion of investment to see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use and understand, better coordinated and cheaper bus services.
Changes will include simpler bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs; more services in the evenings and at the weekends; integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes, so people can easily move from bus to train; all buses accepting contactless payments.
However, Ms Lewell-Buck raised concerns about the gap in transport spending between London and the North East, and demanded reassurances from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in Parliament.
She said: “The North East has suffered from under-investment in transport for too long. In 2019, it was revealed that over £3,600 of spend was planned per head for London and just over £500 per head for the North East.
"The Prime Minister has said the strategy is an act of levelling up, but we know that phrase is a smokescreen for gifting money to areas that do not need it but happen to have a Tory MP.
"Will the Secretary of State tell us what criteria will be applied to ensure that this £3billion is shared fairly among our regions?”
Mr Shapps replied: “First of all, I agree... that London has been getting a very nice bite of the cherry with its buses, and we want the rest of the country to get the same.
"That is the point of launching this strategy. I am afraid that I do not recognise the second point that the hon. Member made.
"She may be getting confused by the fact that hard-working great MPs who lobby for their local areas may just end up being successful in bringing services to their area. I have no doubt that she will join her area to that list as well.”