Bus Industry (Passenger Numbers)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6 October 2022.

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Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

I believe that I covered that matter in detail last week. I am looking urgently at a range of options to provide further support to the bus industry. However, I must remind Mr Simpson of the level of support that we provide to the industry in Scotland, which is significantly greater than the support in other parts of the United Kingdom. For example, we budgeted £93.5 million from April this year to support the bus network as we recover from the pandemic. Up to £20.5 million of net additional funding is already being provided to extend recovery funding to October, which is in addition to around £210 million that was provided during the pandemic. We have also provided additionality, with the £25 million of funding in relation to bus priority measures, which delivers funding to 28 local authorities in Scotland.

I note that, in his question, Mr Simpson did not identify some of the labour shortage issues that the sector is currently facing in relation to Brexit, nor did he identify any of the fuel cost charges that are really hampering some of our bus operators.

I look forward to meeting operators this afternoon, while noting that some of the competences that I have just addressed remain reserved.