Call for return of eXplore card

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A PROPOSAL to reinstate a controversially axed discount travel card for young people was due to be discussed at Suffolk County Council’s budget debate.

The plan to bring back the eXplore card for young people was among a raft of alternative funding and savings proposals drafted by Liberal Democrat councillors for consideration at yesterday’s full council meeting.

The authority was expected to sign off on £26.2 million in budget cuts for 2012-13 as well as a freeze in its share of Council Tax.

The majority of savings are to be made by improving efficiency, reducing management costs and focusing more on prevention in adult care.

However, Cllrs Andrew Cann and John Field submitted £3.4 million in funding plans including bringing back the eXplore card based on a £25 administration fee.

They also wanted to reinstate bus routes cut at last year’s budget and provide 50 apprenticeship placements at the county council for young people not in education, employment or training.

The pair offset the cost with a series of cuts ranging from a 30 per cent reduction in external room hire and slashing business miles by 10 per cent.

They also wanted to reduce the number of cabinet posts by one and shave £2 million from the authority’s Customer Services Direct contract with BT.

Speaking to the Bury Free Press on Wednesday, Cllr Cann, who represents the St Margaret’s and Westgate division, said: “We think it’s better to put these proposals forward and see what the Conservatives think of them.

“They’re modest and affordable. We’re not disagreeing with the general need to make savings. We’re saying there are some services which are far more important than others.”