Bristol

Plan to raise business rates in Bristol for bus is "mad"

An idea to increase business rates to pay for bendy bus routes in Bristol has been described as "barking mad".

Bristol City Council needs to raise £37m to contribute towards a £150m project for the rapid transit scheme.

But Guy Kingston from the Federation of Small Businesses said raising business rates or an alternative scheme for a workplace parking levy was "terrible".

On Thursday, councillors decided to set up a working party to examine both ideas to raise the funds.

A further £41m from North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils would also be needed to help pay for the scheme.

The rest of the money would come from the government which would make a final decision in December.

'Hare-brained bendy bus'

"There's no way you can take £37m out of the local economy and not have an effect," Mr Kingston said.

"It's going to have an effect, especially when you are going to spend it on a hare-brained bendy bus scheme which is economically illiterate."

Bendy bus routes between Ashton Vale and Temple Meads and Hengrove to north Bristol could benefit from investment if the scheme goes ahead.

City council transport spokesman Tim Kent said: "We want to talk more with business and look in more detail with the schemes and we see no reason why we can't make a decision early next year."

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