minister Henry McLeish.
The government signalled its determination to tackle social exclusion
in remote areas of Scotland by ploughing£4.5m from the budget
financial boost will be targeted at three key areas:
-£3.5m will be spent on subsidising socially desirable scheduled
bus services in the most peripheral areas of Scotland
-£600,000 will be spent on funding community transport measures,
such as community buses, dial-a-bus services, taxi buses and
voluntary car schemes
-£400,000 will be pumped into sustaining rural petrol stations and
The minister said:
'I am sure this will be seen as a significant and welcome boost to
public transport in country areas. It is also a strong indicator of the government's determination to address the problems of exclusion from transport services in remote areas where getting from A to B cannot be taken for granted, especially for those without a car.
'We will be looking to act quickly to distribute the funds in order that the rural public transport users can receive the benefit as soon as possible. Various options are actively being considered carefully to ensure that the money is targeted at areas of need.
'I intend channelling some£600,000 to developing community
transport initiatives which are likely to be of particular value in more remote areas. I believe the majority of the funding - some£3.5m
- should be aimed at enhancing socially desirable scheduled bus
services. This would be achieved by targeting the additional help at
those local authorities with rural communities and particularly those
covering more remote areas. I am also looking at ways of directing
some£400,000 towards sustaining rural petrol stations and other
'This package of measures will assure those living in rural areas of
Scotland that the government recognises their transport needs and is
determined to bolster and enhance public transport services which in
many cases seem to have been eroded over the last 20 years or so. I am
sure they will fit well with the government's intention to develop a
sustainable and integrated transport strategy for the future benefit of Scotland.'
- Further discussions will take place to determine where the
funds will be targeted. It is anticipated the funds will be allocated
during financial year 1998/99.