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Black Monday as cuts kick in

What next, asks Larry Neild, as parking goes up to £2.20 an hour and 6th formers' bus passes disappear

Published on June 27th 2011.

Black Monday as cuts kick in

It’s Black Monday for Liverpool’s upwardly mobile as a 10 per cent rise in parking charges is introduced, along with an announcement sixth formers are to lose their right to free school bus passes.

Feeding an on-street meter in Liverpool city centre now costs £2.20 an hour, a move aimed at generating extra money for the cash strapped council.

It’s a pity the passes could not
be funded from the extra income
earned from car parking fees

It’s the first increase in charges for some years, but Liverpool still makes people pay on Sundays, unlike Manchester.

There have been constant calls to the council to look at free or low cost charges  at weekends to stimulate city-centre activity.

Let’s hope the prospect of extending the pay and display hours beyond 6pm does not crop up again anytime soon.

The council has faced a £91m cut in government grants this year and is already gearing up for another massive cut next year of over £50m.

Cllr Jane Corbett, the council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services – essentially the education supremo – acknowledges the impact the buss pass move will have on young people across the city, but insists the council’s hands are tied.

This year the city will be spending over £1.6m to fund free bus travel for almost 1,700 sixth formers and over 5,000 other pupils.

When the new school term opens this autumn there will be no travel passes for students aged 16 and over.  It’s a pity the passes could not be funded from the extra income earned from car parking fees.

Pupils have always been eligible for bus passes when attending schools a distance from their homes, usually it is around three miles.  Is it acceptable for energetic teens to make their own way to school – on foot or by bicycle – in bankrupt Britain?

Many pupils, particularly those wanting to study a specialist subject, have little choice but to sign up for particular academies in other parts of the city.

Maybe in the spirit of Big Society, the school Parent Teachers groups should raise funds to help pay the fees of students needing help with travel costs.

The EMA – Education Maintenance Allowance – of around £30 a week – would have helped many of the poorer students, but that is going as well.

From next year free bus passes will only be issued to pupils, regardless of age, who go to their nearest school – providing it meets the distance requirement.

If parents opt to send their child to a preferred school in another part of the city, they will have to meet the travel costs.

Meanwhile, Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said the council will raise around £350,000 in a full year from the increase meter charges.

He added: “You also have to remember that Manchester charge for resident's parking schemes while we don't so the money we raise goes towards the management, and enforcement of those schemes.”

The council is yet to set out what will be happening to libraries and leisure facilities as a result of the spending cuts.

There could be more Black Mondays to come in the next few months.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 27th 2011.

This seems to be the shape of things to come. The council has also said it wants to do more stricter enforcement out there in the suburbs, so watch out there's a warden about may be the battle cry soon.
The big concern now is the charges in the private car parks will also rise to match the council increase. These extra charges are just one of the things taken into account when a trip to town is contemplated. Eventually town will price itself out of existence. The standard of bus services is not good enough to lure people from their cars, so many would just as soon not bother heading into town. Short sighted approach here, I would say.

AnonymousJune 27th 2011.

If you Don't Park you won't Pay. It is so simple. Take the bus or train, or better still cycle or walk.

Hans Christian AndersonJune 27th 2011.

This is all rather depressing. I will no longer take my car into the city centre as it is getting ridiculous. But I cannot transport a lot of shopping on the bus or train. I will therefore enjoy even more my little trips to the Trafford Centre.

AnonymousJune 28th 2011.

Went to the top end of town yesterday close to Hope Street and the on-street parking has gone up from 70p for half an hour to £1.10p. Park for the whole two hours and its gone from £2.80p to £4.40. Bit steep that i'd say.

AnonymousJune 29th 2011.

What's going on with the massive car park at Queens Wharf & Dock? Is it in use? Is it pay and display? When I worked in the city centre that car park was always completely empty all week. Given the current charges for parking in the city centre I think £2.50 for all day parking there might tempt more people to park there and walk into the city centre. Then hopefully that might bring everywhere else in line or at least make it cheaper.
Or you can park for free all day by Brunswick Train Station and get a return ticket for about 3 quid to Central & back. Just an idea..... Dig

stormin normanJune 30th 2011.

Much as I agree with the comments re charges, particularly Sundays, the "free" parking at the Trafford, Lowrey and Cheshire Oaks centres, require round trips of 40-60 miles. With petrol nudging the £6/gallon mark, enjoying the "little trips" is going to cost at least £10. Support your local shops (eg TJ's)

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