Bus sell-off abandoned

IPSWICH: Controversial proposals to sell off a stake in Ipswich Buses have been rejected by the borough council.

The Evening Star revealed at the end of last year that the borough was trying to sell a stake in the company to transport giant Go-Ahead.

It always said only a minority of the company would be sold – but the exact size of the external stake had not been agreed.

Council deputy leader John Carnall said the talks were very amicable but he and his colleagues had decided that it was not possible to progress the matter at the current time.

He said: “We would like to thank the management team at Go Ahead for their positive approach but action now would not be appropriate.”

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It had been a mutual decision to call off the talks, but he was not able to say any more about the reasons for the stalemate.

The opposition Labour group at Grafton House has been opposed from the start.

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Group leader David Ellesmere said: “This is welcome news. The council’s plans to sell off the bus company were hugely unpopular and it is not a surprise that they have had to back down.

“However, the statement from John Carnall still leaves open the possibility of a sale in the future. It is clear that the future of Ipswich Buses will never be secure while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are running our council.”

Mr Ellesmere feared that the coalition government could force councils like Ipswich, which still own bus companies, to sell them off.

He said: “We just don’t know what the situation will be in the future – but we would like to see the company continuing to be owned by the people of Ipswich.”

n Should part of Ipswich Buses be sold? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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