HAVING retired early in 2003, I worked as a part-time council special needs bus driver/ attendant and was quickly impressed by the skills and commitment of those front line employees.
Over the years readers will all have seen or experienced this acclaimed service transporting youngsters to and from special needs schools or elderly, disabled or vulnerable relatives safely and compassionately transported to and from day care centres.
Well this Tory-controlled council has now got this much-needed service in its sights for abolition.
Families must now mobilise to fight this battle and not fall for the claim that the alternatives will be better because of personal choice. Many of the users are incapable of exercising personal choice.
Around February 27 this plot will be decided on because the council claim Westminster cuts mean that 428 needy users – 0.13 per cent of the 339,500 Cheshire West and Chester residents (which equates to less than 10p per week each) – cannot be funded but a whole host of unnecessary and costly projects must be.
Even some of the resident children we canvassed supported 10p per week of their pocket money being used to maintain the service.
They also claim, as their leaders do, that ‘cutting back is all in the interests of the tax payer’ and we all know the only tax payers who have benefited from this unelected government are their wealthy supporters.
It is unforgivable how those who came up with this plan know so little about the crucial service it provides by trivialising it as they do in their so called Easy Read Future of Transport document.
They claim that all it provides is a door-to-door service – that must anger and offend all those caring employees who deliver such a vast range of help and assistance.
Don’t believe the claim that this service is free to users.
Our council money subsidises it but users have been forced to contribute to it for some time now, just as they also have to pay for their food in the care centres.
Users of this long-standing service and their families and carers do not want to have their lives disrupted again by a myriad of cheap and substandard uncaring alternatives.
At their meeting on January 16, the 1,000 plus strong Mid-Cheshire Unite the Union NW/0619 Branch committed to fight this, if necessary, right up to the elections in 14 months time.
Ron Yarwood, Secretary Unite the Union, Mid-Cheshire Branch