Image courtesy of the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group.
I am not the worlds greatest mathematician and I can usually do basic sums yet something just doesn't add up for me when I read figures relating to the sale of Plymouth Citybus and the ensuing profits made by the now private company. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about let me explain.
Plymouth, like many cities in the UK, has been let down by it's council (P.C.C) for decades, whether Tory or Labour led there seems to be an agenda that doesn't involve what is best for the city or its inhabitants. The sell-off of Plymouth Citybus is yet another example of council failure. Plymouth Citybus was owned by the council and run at a profit providing both a good bus service for city people and providing an income for council coffers. So here are the figures which I just can't get my head around. The Tory led council spent £1 million valuing Citybus, how on earth does it cost £1 million to value a business and which accountants pocketed the cash on this nice little earner? After securing the valuation job the accountants then came up with a value of £19 million which the council accepted and proceeded to sell Citybus to a company based outside Plymouth ensuring that any profit would be taken outside the city.
After the sale of Citybus, Plymouth people start to notice a deterioration in service and started to see many local routes being cut with the elderly and school children being most badly affected. Obviously a private firm has to look at which routes are most profitable, this private firm have no interest in whether kids can get to school or whether the elderly can retain a level of independence or mobility they are led purely by profit as they have no loyalty or passion for Plymouth.
So whilst the people of Plymouth continue to suffer from years of council errors Go Ahead, the company which owns Citybus, announce profits of £100 million annually not a penny of which will be invested into our city (Source - Plymouth Herald and Go Ahead website. So the only people who have befitted from the sale of Citybus are the owners of Go Ahead and the accountants who took the valuation job. The losers are us. Thanks again P.C.C for putting the people you are meant to serve last.
After the disastrous Tory administration you would hope for an improvement from Labour but no such luck, we see the same pattern of party politics and pure greed taking precedence over the needs of the people. Had the council kept Citybus perhaps some of the revenue could have been used to subsidise the airport. Still no support from the Labour led council on our much needed airport, they verbalise their support but refuse to follow up their words with actions, no action to stop the incinerator which is opposed by so many and uses outdated German engineering. With the incinerator going ahead you would assume that every effort would be taken to protect green spaces to help negate air pollution but instead the council sell off part of our green lung (Central Park) for a multi million pound development which will suck yet more money out of our city providing mainly low-skill, minimum wage jobs. At the same time as this ridiculous development is approved the council decide to put up parking in areas where there are lots of small independent traders, these traders are already battling a tough economy of for many of these businesses the increased parking charges could just be the final nail in the coffin.
I write this after updating my position on the electoral role and wondering what exactly is the point of me doing so? So few people turn put to vote now that one has to question whether there is much point going to the ballot box. The few that do turn up to vote mainly vote tactically and having stood as an independent a few years ago I saw first hand some of the tactics used by each party to scrape in a few extra votes. I fear that without major change to our government, local council and banking system the future looks bleak.
Stay Healthy (not likely with the proposed incinerator),