In a Westminster Hall debate today, Labour and Co-operative MP Luke Pollard suggested that the Department for Transport inaction could be the “death knell for Community Transport as it is currently structured”.
Revised guidance by the Department for Transport on section 19 and section 22 permits for road passenger transport in Great Britain will put heavy new burdens on small voluntary organisations operating community transports.
Drawing on the recent Transport Committee’s recent report on Community Transport, Luke Pollard MP urged the Government to change tack as its proposed policy is already having an effect on this vital sector:
“Community Transport providers are shredding volunteers, are shredding vehicles and are reducing the service that they offer to some of our country’s most vulnerable disabled and vulnerable people.”
The Select Committee report criticises the Government’s approach in a number of areas, particularly the speed of reaction and understanding of the sector:
“That it took the Department more than three months to provide a potentially more workable definition of “non-commercial” in the context of community transport services demonstrates the Department’s lack of understanding of the sector and the potential effects of its initial proposals. There is still more work to do in fully understanding the implications. This is highly regrettable and must be addressed. The Department must enhance its expertise, understanding and oversight of community transport, and be able to demonstrate how it has done so.”