John Leech Slams scrutiny over Coronavirus transport crisis

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Chair of Greater Manchester Transport Committee (GMTC) of deliberately blocking scrutiny and avoiding input from across the region.

The Chair of GMTC, Councillor Mark Aldred, has ignored multiple requests from Liberal Democrat members of the committee to constructively scrutinise how the region’s transport will begin to recover from the Coronavirus crisis once lockdown beings to ease.

Lib Dem representatives on GMTC, John Leech and Howard Sykes, accused Councillor Aldred of deliberately avoiding scrutiny and input from across the region and political divide.

The Liberal Democrats set out five points that GMTC must urgently answer in order to address concerns about how the region’s transport will begin to recover from the Coronavirus crisis:

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  1. How will social distancing be maintained at the same time as getting people back on public transport
  2. Address the budget implications of far fewer passengers and how this will allow us to maintain subsidised bus services 
  3. The impact on infrastructure and cost of the Government and Council prioritising walking and cycling
  4. Concerns raised by bus companies about Andy Burnham not delivering all the money promised to operators
  5. How this crisis may affect decisions about franchising bus services


Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester John Leech said:

“Everyone is under a lot of strain at the moment but the lack of transparency and communication from the Chair of GMTC with other Transport Committee members and public transport operators has been unacceptable.

“Transport has been one of the most affected areas as a result of the lockdown and the reintroduction needs to be a cross-party, collaborative plan with input from across the region.

“But Councillor Aldred is not learning lessons from last month’s mess and is deliberately keeping other Transport committee members in the dark to avoid scrutiny.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Oldham Howard Sykes added:

“GMTC must get a grip of the crisis by allowing and inviting transparency and constructive scrutiny.

“Members from all political parties on the Greater Manchester Transport Committee must be involved in tackling this crisis to ensure the very best plans are put forward for our region.”

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