Catherine McKinnell, Member of Parliament for Newcastle North, used the debate on the King’s Speech to call for greater support for local bus services.

Speaking during the debate, Catherine set out that residents: “tell me that they cannot get to work or school because of the lack of buses—that is despite the Government cancelling the largest national rail infrastructure project in a century and using some of the money to maintain the £2 bus fare subsidy.

“Across Newcastle, we have lost vital bus services that were essential for accessing local services, visiting family and friends, and getting to school or work.

“While the extended £2 cap on the bus fare is clearly welcome, it is just not enough. If there was ever an example of a short-term sticking-plaster solution, that must be it: capital funding spent on a short-term revenue fix that does not even fix the problem.

“We have a broken Government presiding over a broken system, which is preventing people from getting on. Residents want a much greater say over their bus routes, and Labour has a plan to deliver that.”

Following the debate, Catherine commented:

“Many residents rely on bus services to get to work, to school, to see family and to enjoy all the Newcastle and the North East has to offer.

“Too often they are let down due to the unreliability and unavailability of local bus services, and too often feel their voices aren’t heard when changes are made by private bus operators.

“The lack of public oversight, combined with a decade of decline have meant that over 5,000 bus routes have been lost in England since 2010. At the same time, passengers have seen the cost of bus fares rise well above wages and inflation.

“Labour will put the public back in control of the public transport they depend on, with the power to set bus routes and fares. This means that there will be someone accountable for the decisions and how they manage the services, rather than being in the hands of the private bus companies.”