Yesterday the CTA launched an online petition “Keep our communities moving!” I am pleased to say that in one afternoon we received well over 200 signatures of support.
As we are in parliamentary recess and holiday season, we will use this time to grow support for our sector and take this petition to Jesse Norman MP, Under-secretary of state for Transport when my meeting is confirmed in September.
So why are we doing this?
Earlier this month the Department for Transport distributed a letter which could have major implications for charities, community groups and public bodies that provide transport for their service users.
This is intended to settle how European Union regulations relating to passenger transport are interpreted into UK law and the UK Government will consult in the autumn on how they want this to work in future.
Who will it impact? Not just community transport
Exactly how this will have an impact is as yet unknown. We suspect there will be implications for hundreds of charities and thousands of their employees, but most crucially it presents massive risks to the quality of life and independence of many tens of thousands of vulnerable citizens and they have to come first.
This is not just about community transport services, but all those other charities and community groups that provide transport for their beneficiaries to participate in whatever their social purpose is- be that sport, positive and healthy activities for young people, tackling rural isolation and helping older people stay independent.
We are pushing the UK Government to accept that one of its objectives in settling this matter is to leave these vital services in good shape and able to continue to serve their communities. We believe that message has got through, but to let them know just how much support there is for them doing this, we are asking you to sign this pledge.
Everywhere we go, across our country, we meet politicians and members of the public who love community transport, and the difference it makes for people and communities. We call on all these friends across the transport industry, central government, local government and the charity sector to stand with us and secure a stable future for these vital services and community activities that touch the lives of so many.
Please join our pledge and spread the message
This is not about transport. It’s about the kind of country we want to live in. We think most people would say that’s one where the needs of the vulnerable come first, so they can have the quality of life they deserve and feel that they belong.
Our pledge has four sentences that we hope you will be happy to support and promote to others:
I stand with all those charities and community groups that provide transport for a social purpose and community benefit. They enable people to live, learn and work independently, to stay fit and active, to access vital public services and participate in their community.
This type of transport provision is Britain at its best with communities doing things for themselves and it must be cherished, protected and nurtured.
I want the UK Government to work with its counterparts in the devolved nations to commit themselves to making sure that nobody suffers as a result of its proposed changes to operator and driver licensing.
I want them to commit to fully understanding the impact of their proposed changes so they can decide whether all this upheaval is worth it and choose another path or decide how they can support those communities most affected, especially our most vulnerable and isolated citizens
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.