Sunday 24 September 2017

Boris Johnson found time to visit Duffield this weekend

Thankfully Boris didn't say anything whilst he was visiting Derbyshire, contenting himself with hanging around Duffield on a zip wire.

Amazingly lifelike - Photo: ©Dawn Narborough
This Boris (created by the Buckley family) featured in the Duffield Arts Festival Scarecrow exhibition alongside 69 other scarecrows spread right across the village.

It would be interesting to substitute the Duffield Boris for the Bullingdon Boris at international summit meetings and see if Britain gains from the switch ............. probably wouldn't be worse off.

Friday 22 September 2017

Derbyshire Tory promises .... Bus services protected ..... No

BelperStuff has been following the progress of the new Tory regime in Matlock with ............ well ................ few expectations. One of the most intriguing promises was to reverse Labour's cuts to bus services which were honestly disclosed by Labour's Councillor Dean Collins in January of this year. He stated that because of government cuts the DCC would have to gradually cut subsidies from £4.2 million to £2.7 million over the 4 years up to 2020/21.New Blueprint for Derbyshire Buses. Don't forget that these are Tory government austerity cuts imposed on councils.
Bus interior scene - Eustace Pain Elliot Nash (Russell-Cotes Art Gallery - Bournemouth)
Derbyshire Tories reacted to this by making the reversal of "Labour" bus subsidy cuts a major election pledge in May 2017. Many people voted conservative because they were promised that by voting Tory they would be protecting bus services. Below is that very promise .......... number 10 in their manifesto:
We know that Derbyshire Community Transport Schemes and subsidised bus routes provide a vital service for vulnerable and isolated people, particularly in the county’s rural and former mining areas.
We will reverse Labour's cuts and restore important access to health and social care, shopping and social activities. 

So what have the Tories done now that they are in office?

In a DCC press statement made in September the Tories announced that they were reversing £3m of the cuts: 

............ and this is the salient announcement:

Subsidised bus services to continue

Bus passengers in Derbyshire are to keep services paid for by us as plans to cut public transport funding are reviewed. It had been proposed to withdraw funding for around 144 subsidised services from October 2017. Following consultation where more than 90% of respondents said they disagreed with the plan, we have now agreed to provide £3m to continue funding some of these services.
The future of individual services has yet to be decided but we will be working closely with operators to see if some can be run commercially. We will also continue to review the whole of the bus network, streamlining less well-used services by reducing their frequency and joining up other services to reduce duplication.
There is another reference to the £3m in the revised budget announcement of July 2017:
  • putting back £3.1m over two years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020) into public and community transport, reversing a previous budget saving and resulting in an additional £11.9m over the next five years you can find that here

Have the Tories made good on their manifesto pledge?

Not quite sure how putting an average annual sum of £1.55m can become an additional sum of £11.9m over the next 5 years ............ (surely 5 x 1.55 = 7.75) ............. must be Govian maths.

The total sum allocated for public transport in the Labour budget for 2017/18 was £13.7 million. It would be helpful if the new administration could publish their revised public transport budget figure for this current year and give an indication of what subsequent budgets might look like. The eagle-eyed amongst you have probably noticed that Councillor Collins was talking about a 4 year budget period (up to 2021) but the Tories are planning on a 3 year timescale (up to 2020). What do they propose in the 4th year? What is needed is a like for like comparison. That claim of an extra £11.9m over the next 5 years would equate to an additional annual figure of £2.38m. If we use Councillor Collins January 2017 press statement as a baseline then we could have expected the 2021/22 public transport budget to be around £12.2 but the revised Tory forecast would make that £14.58m. If inflation is included in the calculation then the 2021/22 budget figure would have to be in the region of £15m to keep parity with the 2017/18 figure. Obviously £3.1m over two years falls way short of the election manifesto promise.


A cynic might well say, "so what's new .......... Tories make big promises to get elected then do exactly the opposite once they have your vote".
The trouble is that they do it time after time, election after election. "oh yes ..... (the cynic would say) ............ but all parties renege on their election promises".
Maybe so but in this instance it would appear that Labour were more trustworthy than the Tories. In fact there are other Tory promises that have already been broken that will feature on this blog.
As usual BelperStuff tries to be a reliable source of information. If you spot any factual inaccuracy then make a comment below and if something needs correcting it will be corrected.