West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire has given her support to protestors who are looking to save the crucial ring and ride service. The service is under threat in the West Midlands after 7 West Midland Councils told Centro to cut 10% from its Budget over 2 years.
Centro need to find £14.1 million in savings. Other services which are under threat include the vitally-needed, but lesser-used bus services; free travel for OAPs on trains and trams; and half-price bus tickets for children.
Nikki is now backing the West Midlands Pensioners Convention who have collected a 56,000 strong signature petition.
The We Demand a Referendum Now MEP said:
‘’I am pressing to protect present funding to Ring & Ride for another year. The service is operated by West Midlands Special Needs Transport a registered charity who need time to develop a new business model to raise any shortfall in funding along similar lines to Air Ambulance and other charities. The ring and ride provides a lifeline to elderly people and without it, many would become trapped in their own homes’’
‘’The users of the ring and ride represent some of the least mobile and most infirm and disabled in society. I recognise that these are difficult times and Centro are under immense pressure to make these savings. However we also need to think about those who work for the ring and ride too. As I am aware, around 400 people are employed as part of the ring and ride scheme, both full time and part time. Their jobs might also be under threat. If we are taking away services like this, the Government needs to legislate so these vulnerable people have access to transport services regardless of cuts”.
Members of Nikki Sinclaire’s staff will join a short dignified protest organised by the West Midlands Pensioners Convention at Centro Headquarters Centro House 16 Summer Lane Birmingham at 10.30am on Friday 14th February. When the West Midland Councillors Budget Meeting starts at 11am..
Photos to follow
Nikki Sinclaire MEP is available for further comment and interview
Please contact Nicole Carroll at the Office of Nikki Sinclaire MEP on 0121 359 5933.