During P&K’s recent budget debate, Ward 4 C’llr Ian Campbell, the Opposition spokesperson on Environmental issues, expressed satisfaction that the administration had reinstated the £300k that it had previously decided to cut from the community transport budget.
 He said: “We believe that, particularly in rural areas, transport is not just an issue of getting from A to B but is also at the heart of social inclusion for the elderly, the infirm, those seeking employment, those in employment and indeed the young. We need to actually improve on our local transport initiatives, not destroy them.”

Derived Demand
“The easy approach is to cut funds and then argue that ‘lack of use’ was to blame. Often, however, the lack of use, is caused by lack of service. This administration knows the cost of everything but completely lacks any understanding of ‘value’.
“Rural transport is all about ‘derived demand’ In other words if we can make buses meet trains and other buses, usage will improve. If we can join rural buses with larger hubs in a time frame that give people the opportunity to shop, gain employment, visit hospitals or relatives then usage will improve.
“It is up to us, as service providers for our communities to be more imaginative about how we make these services work for our communities and not give up on our communities.”
He declared: “Just imagine, if a thought-through, rural transport service in our smaller towns, villages and outlying communities could help get just 50 people into employment in the next town, village or small industrial park, how that would bring money back into those communities and a better quality of life to those involved.”
He added a warning that vigilance was needed to ensure that transport cuts are not in next year’s budget.

Resilience Forums
A further proposal of C’llr Campbell (pictured) was to assist in funding ‘Community Resilience Forums’ This would help different areas establish groups of volunteers to help out in cases of local emergencies such as flooding, severe winter weather and power outages.
 He said: “ I believe that the time is right for us, as a council, to put monies into helping our smaller communities develop their own ‘community resilience forums’. We have seen in recent times how events like severe weather and power disruption can impact greatly on the elderly, the vulnerable and indeed the very young in our communities.
“Whilst we may all have the will to assist these communities, it makes perfect sense for us to try and help them ‘self establish’ resilience forums where those at risk can be identified and where willing volunteers are in a position, if needs be, to assist in providing heating, clothing, medicine etc”.

Be Prepared
C’llr Campbell believed that the key to ‘community resilience’ is preparedness and that P&K council should be assisting, now, by providing and sharing its expertise, making logistical support easily available if and when the time comes and giving advice now to groups moving down this road. 
He asserted: “The Scottish Conservatives share the vision of many communities who understand the need and advantages of being  responsible for their own resilience.  We will support them by providing ‘seedcorn’ funding to get them into the position of being viable entities and giving them the confidence to develop and then act on their plans.”

 

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