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Minister must reconsider disproportionate cut to disability transport scheme

As the Alliance Regional Development spokesperson, Lyttle expressed his concern for the level of cuts that have been imposed on the Disability Action Transport Scheme by the Minister for Regional Development. The level of funding they receive from DRD has been cut by 21% for this financial year. There will also be a 100% cut to group service funding and to mobility centre funding.

The scheme operates in 29 urban areas in Northern Ireland and provides transport for people with disabilities and older people who may find it difficult to use mainstream public transport.

Lyttle said: "While I recognise that every Department is facing a difficult financial position, made worse by the decision of Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Greens to block welfare legislation, I am still concerned by the level of cuts to the Disability Action Transport Scheme.

"This is a vital service and it is now clear that there will be a significant impact on the personal mobility of people with a disability and older people, with increased fares, potential reduction to hours of services and staff redundancies.

"It appears that the Regional Development Minister has applied a disproportionate budget reduction to transport services for people with a disability and older people, and it is disingenuous of him to claim that these cuts will have only a minimal impact on the scheme. The Minister must reconsider this level of cuts and provide reassurance to those that rely heavily on this vital service.

"The SDLP, Sinn Fein and Green Party have said that they are seeking to protect the most vulnerable in our society from cuts to the welfare system, but this issue shows how vulnerable people are being negatively impacted by cuts to public services, which could get worse due to the perilous position of our finances."

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Chris in the constituency