Weekly Column 29.01.20

It will be no surprise to many of you that one of the most regular matters in my post bag is our local bus services.  I have worked hard to raise your concerns and to make sure that services are retained, but the unique nature of the Moorlands geography and topography, means that there are too few, too infrequent services between our towns and villages.

I raise your concerns in meetings with the bus companies and our local authorities.  I have also raised the issue on the floor of the House of Commons and in private meetings and correspondence with Ministers on behalf of specific constituents.  But the problem is that in the Moorlands we have unique problems and need bespoke solutions.

It was therefore a real pleasure to take part in a debate on public transport provision in North Staffordshire in Westminster Hall last week.  This was a great opportunity for all North Staffordshire MPs to explain in some detail to a Minister what we need across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to get public transport that works for our area. 

The Government is doing some really good things, including an additional £220 million for bus services and integrated strategies for public transport, but we need to make sure that when our share of that money comes to our area, it does so in a way that works for us.  This means that there is a recognition of need in rural areas for connectivity so that appropriate subsidies can be given to keep services viable, rather than just looking at value for money, which simply does not work in places like the Moorlands.

It was a good, constructive debate and I can assure you that I am working to get this right.  Please see my website to read the whole debate.