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Changes are set to be made to two services, at the end of the month, as part of book balancing ‘tough decisions’ made by Redditch Borough Council.

From April 1 the funding of an ‘extra’ bus travel concession will stop and at the same time charges will be made for the Shopmobility service which was previously free.

Extra funding from the Council, of around £85k a year, put towards the County-wide bus travel concession, meant eligible Redditch residents were able to travel before 9.30am on weekdays.

The concession came into force in 2013 and supplemented the Worcestershire-wide bus pass scheme which enables eligible residents to travel anywhere in England between 9.30am and 11pm.

Redditch residents are also set to be charged £2 a day to use the Shopmobility equipment for as long as they want, from Monday to Saturday. It’s £3 for non-residents and all users will have to pay a £10 annual subscription fee. This is still being subsidised by the Council to the tune of £69k which will eventually reduce to £25k if the predicted income is achieved.

As part of last month’s budget-setting process, the axing of this extra funding was among one of the tough decisions that Members had to make to continue to balance the books.

Council Leader Bill Hartnett said: “These decisions have not been taken lightly but we have been dealt a huge financial blow with massive cuts to our funding from Central Government, not least the New Homes Bonus, and we have had to make some tough decisions with the majority of our residents in mind.

“The Shopmobility charges are still very competitive nationally and eligible residents can still enjoy free bus travel.
“In these times of austerity we have to cut our cloth accordingly and we have implemented this change sooner rather than later to fit in with the start of the new financial year.”