Somerset

Minehead to Lynmouth 300 bus service subsidy questioned

Somerset County Council has admitted it is subsidising a part-time bus service by almost £100,000 a year.

The 300 service, which travels between Minehead and Lynmouth, is one of 35 routes the council supports with a subsidy that are now facing cuts.

The cutbacks are part of £43m savings the Conservative-led local authority has to make by 2013.

But councillor Harvey Siggs accepted that removing the services could impact the local economy.

Subsidy 'cannot continue'

"I believe residents will be shocked to find that we are pumping in getting on for £100,000 a year to a route that only runs from April to September.

"That is money that could have been spent on providing care, help and support to vulnerable people.

"We have a huge reduction in our funding to cope with and I believe most people will understand we have to cut back on what we are doing - subsidies of this scale just cannot continue," he said.

The council is running a consultation - which is due to end on 13 January - over the subsidies it currently pays.

"No decisions have yet been made but I consider levels of this subsidy, such as for the 300, are just not sustainable," Mr Siggs added.

Depending on the outcome of the public consultation, there could also be a reduction in service to 18 routes.

Somerset County Council only funds the 300 service between April and September.

The operator, Quantock Motor Services, runs the service on a commercial basis outside these months.

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