Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Tories/Lib Dems to sell off Ipswich buses
Ipswich Buses Ltd has been owned by the People of Ipswich for more than a hundred years, but the Tories and Liberal Democrats are planning to sell off the company to a private operator.
Any company that takes a stake in the bus company will only do so to make a proft. We have already seen what this means since the Tories and Liberals took control of the council: by trying to get as much money out of the bus company, instead of treating it as a public service, they have forced fares up by more than 60% and services have been cut.
The demands of a private operator will only accelerate this trend.
Privatisation could also cost council tax payers more in the long run. Higher fares will mean that concessionary bus schemes will cost more. In other areas of the country private bus companies claim that services in the evenings and at weekends are not "commercially viable". They demand tens of thousands of pounds of council subsidies to continue running these services.
Even if we thought privatisation was a good idea, now is surely not the time to do it? We are in the middle of a recession and asset prices are depressed. Any sale now will mean a poor deal for the council tax payer. The only reason the Tories and Liberals are desperate to sell now is because they are short of money due to their own mismangement. £1.5 million has been lost "investing" in dodgy Icelandic Banks. £400,000 of revenue has been lost from the enforced closure of Crown Car Park.
Ipswich Labour Party believes in a publically owned bus company, run as a service for the People of Ipswich, not to maximise profits.
We are totally opposed to the Tory and Liberal plans to sell the bus company off cheaply to a private operator.