Row over concessionary fares likely to push City Council overbudget

Posted on - 2nd February, 2009 - 3:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Uncategorized
concessionary travel will be at the centre of local authority budgets for 2009/2010

Concessionary travel will be at the centre of local authority budgets for 2009/2010

At the Preston City Council Central Area Forum a presentation was made about Preston City Council’s finances for the year ahead and the year that is nearly passed.


The forecast for the 2009/2010 budget shows that the Council could be nearly £1.5 million over budget due to the changes to the concessionary fares travel scheme. The government has launched a central initiative to get council’s to pay for concessionary fares (cheap travel for pensioners and those with disabilities) and changed the way they are paid for.

Councillor Eric Fazackerly outlined the changes in his speech:

As Preston is a major transport hub, we are likely to pay twice for a concessionary fare as people pass through our bus station. For example, if someone is travelling from the Ribble Valley to Southport via Preston they will pay for four journeys.

The journey from Ribble Valley to Preston will be paid for by Ribble Valley. The journey from Preston to Southport will be paid for by Preston. The journey from Southport to Preston will be paid for by Southport. The journey from Preston to Ribble Valley will be paid for by Preston. Preston City Council is paying half of the concessionary fare cost, while the two other local authorities are paying a quarter each.

The Council is having urgent meetings with relevant local authorities and also with government ministers to put their case – as areas such as Preston that are major travel interchanges will be the ones who take the brunt of the concessionary fare changes.

In 2008/2009 so far the Council has budgeted to spend £101 million. It generates £70.7 million from sales, fees and charges. This leaves a budget to find of £30.3 million. The breakdown of this is £9.7 million comes from council tax, £19 million from a central government grant and £1.6 million is found from council reserves (money put away from better years).

If the concessionary fares charges were to add £1.5 million to the council’s budget for 2009/2010 this can either be paid for by increasing council tax or digging deeper into council reserves. The council reserves currently sit at around £2.6 million and they are told by central government to always keep around £1.1 million in reserve.

The other option is for the council to make ‘efficiency savings’ or cost cutting. In 2008/2009 the Council has made over £850,000 worth of efficiency savings, just over £100,000 ahead of the government’s target of £752,000. It’s not likely the Council would be able to make further efficiency savings to pay for the shortfall in concessionary travel.

What do you think? How should the council pay for this? Is central government being unfair? Should concessionary fares be increased?

Preston in pictures The Station, Preston. 1539Adelphi quarter , preston , 23.06.2022St Walburge's Church, preston 23.06.2022Former Tithebarn pub and Preston Bus StationHarris Museum and Art GalleryRed telephone boxesRed telephone box on Market StreetPreston 2022 View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's weekly newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday rounding up our best content from the last week and a look ahead to what's happening.

Advertisement News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Advertisement Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.