Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party
“We’re making more cuts! You ain’t seen nothing yet!” This was the comment of Graham Chapman, deputy leader of Nottingham’s Labour council when asked about cuts to the disabled person’s mobility card, which gives free bus and tram travel. There are many thousands of cardholders.
The council cut the validity of the card from 24/7 to 9.30am to 11pm in August. This time restriction is having a major impact on disabled people who need to travel to work, hospital appointments, volunteering commitments, day centres and education.
Cutting the hours you can use the card saves only £100,000 a year. But it is part of £100 million of cuts that the council is making – £27 million this year.
Campaigners lobbied the full council meeting on 12 November and collected many signatures on a petition calling on councillors to reverse the cut.
There was a lot of interest from members of the public. One woman donated £20 to the campaign. Five people were interested in getting involved.
Nine campaigners went into the council meeting to hear Councillor Dave Liversidge, head of transport and PR, answer questions raised by the campaign.
He tried to justify the cut by saying the council could not sustain the expenditure of £100,000 a year because it would use up reserves. The council has reserves of £200 million! He said councillors have to make ‘savings’ because government funding has been cut.
The only ‘consultation’ carried out was by internet and email with the council’s ‘disability improvement group’. This was inadequate. Many disabled people will not have known about it.
Nottingham Socialist Party says:
- Reverse the time restriction
- No cuts to other services
- No new charges or increases in charges
- No to all council cuts – use reserves and borrowing powers instead, while building a campaign to get the needed money off this weak Tory government