OUR bus services should be at the heart of our community.

The networks should be ones that people can rely upon so workers can make their daily commute and parents can drop off their children at school or people can get to their local health and leisure facilities.

They should provide regular, clean, environmentally friendly and on time travel.

Our councils have long-held the responsibility to maintain a good bus network that residents can depend on.

The Greater Manchester mayor has had powers devolved to him to improve bus services – to model our network based on what people want.

Yet, under the watch of our local Labour leadership, the Greater Manchester bus network has shrunk dramatically by 8 million miles over the last four years.

This is a trend that is only set to continue, with 33 more services to be reduced, rerouted or cancelled – a majority of which affect the north of Greater Manchester and impact our communities.

This legacy of bus service cuts have left many of my constituents behind. I have been contacted by a large number of constituents that have told me this is having a severe impact upon their daily commutes, putting many jobs at risk, while also affecting the ability to travel to medical appointments, take their children to school safely and access local leisure facilities.

Our councils are responsible for building housing developments that should be supported by existing public transport networks.

Yet their lack of a plan for housebuilding has led to urban sprawl, which has spread the population away from the centre of our communities. As a result, running bus services in these areas are unsustainable and forces residents to use cars.

The failure to have a vision for our towns has only encouraged more people to drive to big out of town shopping centres, costing businesses because high street car parks are always full.

It increases congestion around the school gates, causing danger to children because there are a lack of reliable bus routes for houses built a long way from existing schools.

It increases congestion for both commuters and for buses, leaving many people unable to get into work on time.

We often hear Andy Burnham raise his concerns about the environment yet he is failing to deliver improvements to our bus network that will encourage more people to use it.

If he did, that would mean there would be fewer cars on our roads and less pollution.

Rather than investing in and improving our local bus network, the mayor seems set on taxing car users – something people voted against in a referendum ten years ago.

The mayor’s “environmental levy” is basically the same as the congestion charge and I don’t think people should be paying the mayor’s tax.