The following was passed at the February 2020 Leeds TUC delegate meeting
Leeds TUC notes
- Fares on bus services have increased by twice the rate of CPI inflation between March 2005 and March 2018 (71% as opposed to 35%), whilst passenger numbers have declined year-on-year since 2012.
- Support for public ownership of bus operators has increased by 9% between the last two general election according YouGov
- That Regional TUC’s and other groups have established campaigns in a number of areas for city-region mayors to use powers to bring in franchising of services, similar to what currently exists in London, which allows greater control by local authorities over routes, fares, ticketing policy etc which would remain operated by private companies.
- Under the 2017 Bus Services Act local authorities are specifically barred from forming a company for the purpose of providing local services.
- That Leeds City Council and other Labour-controlled local authority bodies including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have expressed interest in ‘participating in the sale’ of First Bus groups UK assets and are exploring ways that local authorities could use purchasing all or part of its operations to operate a service around the restrictions of the 2017 Bus Services Act.
- That the Conservative group on Leeds City Council are advocating franchising as an alternative to public ownership
Leeds TUC believes
- That whilst franchising would represent a step forward compared with the current minimal control local authorities exercise over bus services, public ownership of bus services would be preferable.
- That the provisions of the 2017 Bus Services Act banning local authorities from forming a company for the purpose of providing local services should be repealed.
- That if bodies such as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority move ahead with purchasing any part of First Bus’ UK operations, they should demand that the cost of investment to bring the service up to a reliable, affordable standard is knocked off the price.
- That publicly owned bus operations should not be left in the hands of the private sector managements, but should be run by a board drawn up of one third elected local councillors, on third representatives elected via the trade unions representing the workforce, and a third via democratically elected representatives of passengers.
Leeds TUC resolves
- To campaign for the provisions of the 2017 Bus Services Act banning local authorities from forming a company for the purpose of providing local services to be repealed.
- To call on Labour city region mayors to utilise franchising powers available to them
- To call upon labour groups in local authorities to campaign for the powers to establish publicly owned bus companies along the lines outlined in this resolution
- To call upon the Labour Party & the TUC to initiate a mass campaign for the renationalisation of all bus and rail services.
- To submit this motion to the West Yorkshire Association of Trades Councils