“It’s simple - we need fairer funding so that rural areas are not left behind in discussions about transport.”
The one line I hope everyone at the round table event this morning will remember.
I was invited by the Fabian Society to join a transport discussion in Liverpool as a fringe event at the Labour Conference.
Other members of the group included the Shadow Spokesperson for Transport, Baroness Sharon Taylor, the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport and Norman Baker, from Better Transport. Whilst I cannot share the content of the discussion, I can tell you we covered questions such as ‘what are the most significant barriers preventing people from using public transport?’ and ‘how could we better collaborate with local authorities to help the diverse needs of different communities like urban and rural?’ Needless to say, I ensured our members concerns were front and centre. I referenced the need for rural areas to have different solutions, which are targeted to meet their needs AND the funding to deliver them. I am pleased to say that many people were genuinely interested in finding out more about the challenges rural communities face.
It seems transport is going to be a key issue ahead of the next election, with the Prime Minister last week setting out his plans to improve access (see article PM promises better transport for rural areas). We will see what else transpires from Liverpool today but it is encouraging to hear senior political figures talk about rural in its own right and not as an afterthought.
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