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Leigh Day client Jo Green wins fight against Cambridgeshire County Council on bus cuts

Solicitor Rosa Curling successfully prevents big bus subsidy cuts in Cambridgeshire

Photo of Cambridge bus

29 February 2012

Last year local resident Jo Green from Cambridgeshire instructed the judicial review team at Leigh Day to challenge her County Council's decision to axe all council-funded buses over the next four years.

On 15 February 2011 Cambridgeshire County Council decided to cut all funding for subsidised bus services over a four year period, saving £2.98m and in in its place to provide only £220k towards community transport for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

Subsidised services account for 20 per cent of all bus services in the Cambridgeshire and Jo, like many others, is dependent on them to access her local community. She uses her local bus service to take her son to hospital appointments and for her own social life. She is of limited resources and cannot afford to use a taxi every time she needs to travel away from her village.

Rosa Curling in the human rights department at Leigh Day & Co advised Jo that the decision taken by the Council was unlawful. By way of judicial review, Jo challenged the decision on the basis that the Council had failed to comply with its duties under the Transport Act 1985, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Councils have a legal duty to meet the transport needs of residents by providing socially necessary buses and by having '"due regard" for the equality needs of protected groups.

Following the issuing of proceedings, the Council agreed to reconsider its decision and agreed to conduct a much fuller consultation about its proposed cut in January 2012.  The Council published the results of this consultation. The results confirmed that the people who will be most affected by withdrawing bus subsidies are the disabled, the elderly and those needing to get to work. Of those affected, 37% have no other means of transport and only 3% of all respondents supported the withdrawal of subsidies.

As a result, the Council confirmed that although some of the bus subsidies would continue to be withdrawn, a simultaneous investment of an extra £1.5 million, under a project Cambridgeshire Future Transport, will be provided, this way the Council will be able to better ensure local communities’ transport needs are met and people like Jo remain able to access their community.

If your community is facing public services cuts and you would like to talk to one of our judicial review specialists about challenging this please contact Rosa Curling on 020 7650 1200 for a free initial consultation.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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