Council to stop funding railcards

Southern train SUS-150225-011710001

Southern train SUS-150225-011710001

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Hailsham Town Council will stop refunding part of the cost of railcards, which offer cut-price train travel for senior residents, from April 2016.

Hailsham Town Council has provided a subsidy on railcards for senior residents since 2002, paid for out of the council tax precept and totalling approximately £6,000 per year. Currently, around 400 senior resident railcards are subsidised by the town council each year.

From Friday, April 1, the administration of the railcard subsidy will change and the town council will no longer offer a part-refund on the cost of the railcard purchased online or from a railway station.

The removal of the subsidy from the town council’s budget for 2016/2017 means that more money can be put in to running council services and other projects that could benefit all Hailsham residents.

There will also be some administrative saving as the council will not have to process the subsidy payments to senior residents.

Hailsham Town Council will, however, continue to underwrite Cuckmere Buses’ Hailsham services and work closely with the Wealden Bus Alliance and other agencies to develop public transport links in the future.

Councillor Chriss Triandafyllou, Chairman of the Town Council’s Finance, Budget & Resources Committee said: “Hailsham Town Council is one of only a few town councils in the south east to have offered this benefit to residents, encouraging senior railcard holders to enjoy the freedom of rail travel and enhance public transport choice in the process.

“However, central government has cut all budgets to councils including the grant that funds the statutory minimum, so it is inevitable that we have to make cutbacks and can no longer afford to offer railcard subsidy from April 2016.”

Town Clerk John Harrison added: “The council’s decision to withdraw the senior railcard subsidy was a difficult one. However, the more streamlined budget for 2016/17 represents our commitment to protecting the town’s essential services for residents.

“Our focus now will be to continue to ensure all services are run as efficiently as possible.”

For more information, visit the town council offices at Inglenook, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE, telephone 01323 841702 or email enquiries@hailsham-tc.gov.uk.

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