This year, the Community Transport Association was honoured to be supported by KPMG for our 2016 Roadshow events in England. KPMG’s offices in Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cambridge and Southampton provided the perfect setting to gather as a sector and talk about the CTA’s vision and strategy for the future; the current policy landscape that we’re operating in; how we can improve the services that we offer; and how we can all champion the vital work that community transport does.
Each roadshow event comprised of a number of different sessions and we’ll be posting recaps of each session on our blog over the next few days.
In our second session, James Coe, Policy and Public Affairs Executive, discussed some of the policy work that CTA has been undertaking. In his presentation, James laid out the legislative environment which community transport is operating in and how CTA has responded to this environment. In looking at CTA’s policy work he was also able to provide information on CTA’s plans for influencing and developing policy over the next few years.
In the first part of the session, James discussed the UK Government’s spending and its impact on community transport. The November budget, in conjunction with the budget update provided in March, shows an overall departmental saving to Transport. James emphasised that whilst departmental savings to areas such as local authority spending, transport, and health, may reduce the size of the pot of money available, it also means there is much more scope for collaboration.
Following on from this, he provided an overview of a number of key budgetary measures that will impact community transport including the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). Despite rumours to the contrary, BSOG was left un-cut in the November budget and, as so many community transport providers are reliant on the fund, James suggested that as we move forward, the sector needs to have a creative response on what we want the fund to look like in the future. He also discussed the UK Government’s pothole fund, looking at the CTA’s response to the infrastructure commission, and touching upon whether the continued freeze in Fuel Duty is sustainable in the long term.
James then went on to talk about specific pieces of legislation that are impacting the community transport sector. In talking about the Buses Bill and devolution for example, James argued that they could certainly benefit those communities that powers were being localised in, although it’s necessary to also ensure these pieces of legislation attracted funding and were responsive to local needs.
Following this discussion around the legislative environment, James also looked at how this has influenced CTA’s work, shaping our focus on devolution and integration; innovation; economic growth; and health.
James went on to provide detail on these four areas and how our focus on them helps us champion a sector which puts accessibility and inclusivity at the heart of everything it does. He discussed how community transport operators have often led the way in innovating transport; how CTA members and their service users spend each day supporting economic growth; and the massive advantages to better integrating community transport into the health sector.
James’ session sparked some excellent discussion from members at each roadshow event with everyone sharing their thoughts and ideas around the areas discussed. If you want to find out more about the CTA’s policy priorities you can contact James at James@ctauk.org.