Recent proposals by Conservative MP for Southport Damien Moore and Labor MP for West Lancs Rosie Cooper to bring Southport under Lancashire Council have raised concerns over free travel for pensioners. Clr. John Pugh has called for clarification on the matter as the proposal appears to spell the end of free Merseyrail access for ALL Southport pensioners and bus passes for 60-65 year olds.
He launched a survey to gauge the public’s mood which appears first online here. https://forms.gle/z7pxGtMAKDwHXX9dA
“I’m all for a cross-party push for Southport to run its own affairs, which it can’t do in Sefton. This has been my position throughout my political life. However, the latest proposals from local MPs to put Southport under Lancashire, like previous suggestions in the 1990s, need to tackle the problem of bus passes head-on. This is why the Liberal Democrats are in favor of splitting Sefton but keeping Merseyside, thus avoiding any changes to pensioners’ rights.
The Lancashire option put forward by Damien and Rosie is clearly likely to annoy many Southport retirees and future retirees.
MPs must think the government is willing to accept a smaller Sefton. This follows logically from the “Southport to Lancashire” proposal. So why not just split Sefton and stay within the Merseyside travel zone?
In this way, Southport councilors get a bigger voice in a smaller authority. That won’t happen in Lancashire which, at 1.2million, is more than four times the size of Sefton in terms of population and stretches from Lancaster to Burnley.
However, it is not my decision; it’s up to the Southport public to decide – which is why we launched the investigation. We need to know where the audience is at as soon as possible. It requires frankly outlining the pros and cons and asking people to choose.