Sunday, 10 February 2008

bus subsidies

bring out the best in people...

The Cambridge Crier (Feb 1, 2008,page 7) carries a story about how Cambridge residents will have to pay an extra £440,000 per year in Council tax [not actually such a huge amount per taxpayer, it has to be said!] because of a shortfall in money allocated for funding free bus travel for pensioners. This is a national scheme so it doesn't seem unreasonable for Whitehall to cough up [leave aside for a moment hesitations about state subsidies], especially from the perspective of a county with an unrepresentatively old and ageing population.

The city council has already forked out £943,000 to make the scheme work after the Government bungled the introduction of district-wide free travel which left thousands of Cambridgeshire pensioners stranded or forced to pay more to get into towns and cities.

Get past the Local Journalese and it does seem as though someone in London didn't do the math.

The Government claims it has given "sufficient fundin" for te scheme to work but that it did not "take explicit account of authorities' own views about the likely cost impact of the new concession".

Even allowing for the odd placement of the Local Journalese speech marks, that strikes me as a bit odd. Is the Government saying "There is enough money - we know that because we didn't listen to local authorities, and if local authorities don't have enough money it must be their fault"?