Community Transport Providers Left Behind

Alliance Party MLAs Kellie Armstrong and Andrew Muir have hit out at the Department for Infrastructure's decision to extend funding for community transport by just one month.

Kellie Armstrong Andrew Muir community transport

Mrs Armstrong said: "The one-month extension causes real difficulties, not only in operating a service, but it also means organisations will have to extend redundancy notices.

“Usually, staff know funding is a perennial issue and carry on working. Many have continued to be employed, knowing the annual letter of offer will eventually arrive. This one-month offer is unusual in that DfI are providing grant provision into the next financial year for one month.

“If this year's budget is not agreed upon, what information is DfI using to inform its funding decisions? What implications exist for the Department to meet its statutory requirements for rural transport?"

Andrew Muir said: "This is a serious matter. I have written to Julie Harrison, the Department's Permanent Secretary, to enquire about the Department's exact budget position. How the affected organisations are meant to plan services living from hand to mouth is unacceptable, and will cause undue stress for our most vulnerable rural citizens. The Department must find a way to give clarity to rural service providers.”