Here’s what a Tory-led council awarded itself minutes before it doubled disabled bus fares

People board a bus in Lancashire
Tracy Keeling

With the “ToryPoison” hashtag gaining momentum on Twitter, an outrageous decision by Tory-led Lancashire County Council is coming under scrutiny again. The council gifted its councillors the chance to get freebie iPhones on 8 August. It did so minutes before deciding to double the price of bus travel for disabled people.

‘Efficient and effective’

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, the iPhones that the council will offer its 84 members cost £455 each. The iPhone is one of four options, including keeping their current device, it will give councillors at a cost of up to £38,000. The council’s Conservative leader, Geoff Driver, says the phones councillors have at present aren’t up to scratch for “efficient and effective” work.

That the council choose to double disabled bus fares during the same meeting hasn’t gone down well though. It approved an increase to £1 from 50p for NoWcard holders, its concessionary travel pass, for those travelling before 9.30am. The Lancashire Telegraph reports this will save the council £43,000. The council Labour group’s deputy leader, John Fillis, said of the decisions:

We are doubling the cost of bus travel for disabled people but Tory county councillors will get their iPhones, so they’re happy.

Driver, however, says the bus travel increase has nothing to do with the iPhone bonanza because they “come from different types of budget”. Regardless, the council clearly didn’t pay attention to the optics of doing both at once. So, it’s emerged from this meeting looking like it’s only extremely “efficient and effective” at being selfish and callous.

But Lancashire is by no means the only council making outrageous decisions.

Lancashire County Council is not alone

In other news, Norfolk County Council has launched a consultation on the potential closure of dozens of its children’s centres:

So, Lancashire isn’t the only council making decisions that will adversely affect its residents. This is though all connected to a bigger issue: the Conservative government’s slashing of funding for councils by approximately half since 2010.

No wonder then that even ex-Conservative government figures are starting to use the word “poison” to describe the current administration’s policies. Because that’s so blatantly what these policies are.

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Tracy Keeling