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 Halton and Cumbria the worst affected travel areas
 Conservative cuts to local government main driver, says TUC
 Private bus operators have continued to pay out dividends, despite cuts to services

Funding for local bus services in the North West has been cut by a third (-34%) since 2010, according to new TUC analysis published today (Friday).

The analysis shows that in 2010 spending on bus services in the region was £92 million. But by 2018 this had fallen to £61 million as a result of Conservative cuts to local government funding.

Halton and Cumbria the worst affected travel areas

Halton (-94%) and Cumbria (-91%) have experienced the sharpest falls funding for local bus services followed by Warrington (-71%).

The only travel area to have seen an increase in funding is Merseyside which bucks the regional trend.

Analysis published by the union federation this month revealed that council funding for key local services – including transport – have been slashed by £1.2bn in the North West since the turn of the decade.

Campaign for Better Transport research shows 47 local bus routes in the region have been lost or reduced this year. This is despite the fact that almost 60% of journeys on public transport in Britain are made on buses.

Private bus companies have continued to pay out dividends, despite cuts to services

The TUC says that despite cuts to local services private bus operators are still paying large sums to shareholders.

In 2017 more than £17 million was paid out to shareholders of the five biggest private bus companies operating in the region.

TUC regional secretary James McKenna said: “Local bus services are a vital lifeline for communities across the North West. People use them to get to work, see friends and family and take trips to town.

“But Conservative cuts to local government have led to thousands of bus routes being cancelled or reduced.

“If that wasn’t bad enough private bus operators have continued to pay out dividends as services have been cut back.

“Working families deserve a bus network fit for the 21st century. Not one run on the cheap for the benefit of shareholders.”

Editors note

Notes to editors:

Public funding on bus services


2010 (£000s)

2018 (£000s)

£ change

% change

Cheshire West and Chester

























Greater Manchester ITA





Merseyside ITA





North West





Source: TUC analysis of Department for Transport figures

  • Information on bus service funding was not available for Blackburn and Darwen, Blackpool, Cheshire and Cheshire East
  • The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.6 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.


Jay McKenna


TUC press office
020 7467 1248

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