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Bridget Phillipson MP and colleagues call for Quality Contracts for local buses

All twelve Tyne and Wear MPs have written to the members of the North East Combined Authority calling on them to vote in support of establishing the country's first regulated transport system outside of London since 1986.

On Tuesday 21st October, council leaders will be asked to vote to either establish a Quality Contract Scheme or a Voluntary Partnership.

A Quality Contract Scheme will bring £272 million in economic benefits to the region, protect bus routes vital to communities, ensure long-term investment and deliver a simple fare system with Oyster-style smart ticketing.

The bus operators preferred option, a voluntary agreement, would not deliver these changes.

Bridget Phillipson MP, who has been leading the campaign, said:

“Improving our transport network is an important way to support growth and job creation.

I've heard from too many constituents who struggle to get to work, older people who tell me how difficult it can be to get to hospital and residents who are left cut off and isolated on an evening.

"The members of the Combined Authority have a clear choice when they meet on Tuesday.

They can either maintain the status quo where bus operators funnel profits out of our region or support real and lasting change with a Quality Contract Scheme.

If a regulated transport system is good enough for our capital city then it's good enough for the people of Tyne and Wear.”

 

The MPs letter to the North East Combined Authority can be found below:

MPs unite to call for better bus services

Bridget Phillipson MP and colleagues call for Quality Contracts for local buses All twelve Tyne and Wear MPs have written to the members of the North East Combined Authority calling...

Bridget_meets_Youth_Almighty_1.jpgBridget Phillipson MP hosts Youth Almighty group at Parliament.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson last week welcomed members of the Youth Almighty Project to the House of Commons.

The Sunderland-based project is run by the young people of the city with the help and support of local youth workers and volunteers. It provides young people with a welcome and safe environment to learn new skills and engage in activities together.

It also works in the local community to help young people involved in alcohol abuse, drug abuse and anti-social behaviour.

Members today visited Westminster after accepting an invitation by Bridget Phillipson MP to tour the parliamentary estate and Houses of Parliament.

The visitors, accompanied by the Project Lead Worker and Silksworth Ward Councillor Phil Tye, then held a meeting with Bridget to discuss their visit, their experiences of the project, and to learn more about her work as a Member of Parliament.

Speaking after the visit, Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“It was great to meet members of the Youth Almighty Project today and to discuss my work in Parliament with them.

The young people were very interested in how Parliament works and I hope today’s visit will motivate them to get more involved in the future.

With youth unemployment still a major concern in our area, Youth Almighty’s work to inspire young people and provide them with the skills needed to get into work is absolutely essential.

The team at Youth Almighty are really working hard to bring young people off the streets and into the project centre. I commend Phil and the volunteers for their efforts."

Project Lead Worker and Silksworth Councillor Phil Tye said:  

“It was fantastic to visit Parliament today and I would like to thank Bridget for giving the young people from Youth Almighty the opportunity to learn more about the work of an MP.  

I know that they were really inspired by the tour and our discussion with Bridget. It is important that young people understand how Parliament works, and how decisions made in Westminster can have a direct impact on their lives.

They also wanted to talk about why youth work is so important to them and the difference it makes. Visits such as this also help broaden their horizons and provide them with new perspectives."

Bridget Phillipson MP welcomes Sunderland youth project to Parliament

Bridget Phillipson MP hosts Youth Almighty group at Parliament. Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson last week welcomed members of the Youth Almighty Project to the House of Commons. The...

Bridget Phillipson MP uses Westminster debate to press for local bus shake-up

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson has called for north east local authority leaders to vote on 21 October to take back control of local bus provision in the region to help support Sunderland businesses and their employees.

On 15 October the MP sponsored a Westminster Hall debate on transport in the north east, during which she appealed to the North East Combined Authority to vote in favour of introducing a London-style Quality Contracts Scheme for regional bus operators at its next meeting.

The proposed scheme will take back powers over bus fares, timetables and routes and bus operators will bid for the right to run services.

Bridget highlighted the inadequacies of local bus services in Sunderland and explained how this was affecting the city’s economic prosperity.

She focused on Doxford International Business Park, explaining how employees there are forced to come to work much earlier than their shift begins and literally have to run to catch the last bus home.

Bridget also attacked the bus operators for putting profit ahead of providing a public service and drew attention to Nexus estimates that the introduction of a Quality Contracts Scheme will save taxpayers millions of pounds.

At the debate Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“Next week, the North East combined authority will decide whether to introduce a quality contract scheme in Tyne and Wear. I am calling on its members to press ahead and make the change that we need.

The new system would have routes set by the transport authority, with bus operators bidding to run services in an open competition. Not only would we see real competition for the first time, but we would have a simple fare system with Oyster-style ticketing, under which average annual fare increases would be no more than the retail prices index.

I constantly hear from local people who struggle to get to work easily, especially shift workers in places such as Doxford international business park, where many thousands are based.

Visitors and staff at Doxford Park make an important contribution to our local economy, and they should be able to expect a fair, reliable and efficient bus service.”

The full text of Bridget's speech and complete record of the debate can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/qcayt2a

Bridget Phillipson MP calls for transport network fit for Sunderland businesses and workers

Bridget Phillipson MP uses Westminster debate to press for local bus shake-up Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson has called for north east local authority leaders to vote on...


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