Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by the Social Exclusion Unit (Bus 52A)

   The Social Exclusion Unit gave evidence to the Transport sub-committee's Bus Inquiry on 21 May. During this hearing we agreed to provide supplementary evidence in response to specific questions on our research from Mr Gregory Campbell and Mr Bill O'Brien. This additional information is attached at annexes A and B.

Catherine Doherty

Social Exclusion Unit

11 June 2002

Annex A

  This evidence has been provided in response to a series of questions from the committee member Mr O'Brien to which the SEU undertook to provide an additional note.

    "Arising out of your report, and I notice there has been a lot of research done, which areas are you concentrating on for research? In what areas did you canvass people?" (Question 509/10 in the transcript for 21 May)


  As part of establishing a secure evidence base for the transport and social exclusion project the SEU commissioned five local area studies. The idea was to produce both quantitative and qualitative evidence as to the extent to which the current transport system reduces people's access to essential services including work, learning and health care.

  The areas were chosen as exemplars of different types of settlements, including both rural and urban, and because they contain high levels of deprivation across the whole area or in "hidden pockets" within it.

  The research, carried out on the SEU's behalf by external consultants, involved five key elements:

    —  mapping key local services and transport provision;

    —  in-depth interviews and focus groups with both users and non-users of transport;

    —  interviews with transport providers, local service providers and employers;

    —  evaluation of new transport initiatives in each of the areas;

    —  all of these strands will feed into an analysis of the costs and benefits of developing low, medium and high levels of improvement to transport services within the areas studied.

  A summary report comparing the findings of the five areas is currently being prepared. We will arrange for copies to be made available to the committee upon its completion.

The individual characteristics of the five areas studied

1.   Liverpool (Metropolitan)

  North Huyton

    —  10 kilometers from Liverpool City centre;

    —  Princess ward, Knowsley MBC;

    —  Eighth Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2000[35], New Deal for Communities (NDC) area; and

    —  Merseytravel are responsible for transport.

2.   Nottingham (urban)


    —  6 kilometres from Nottingham City centre;

    —  Bulwell east and west wards, Nottingham City Council (Unitary);

    —  Bulwell east 395th IMD 2000, Bulwell west 604th IMD 2000;

    —  Nottingham City Council are responsible for transport.

3.   Newcastle (post-industrial suburban)

  Moor Park

    —  12 kilometres from Newcastle City centre;

    —  Collingwood ward, North Tyneside;

    —  680th IMD 2000; and

    —  Nexus PTE responsible for transport.


    —  7 kilometers from Newcastle City centre;

    —  Lemington ward, Newcastle Upon Tyne MBC;

    —  1460th IMD 2000 (ie not in 10 per cent most deprived but pockets of hidden deprivation within a relatively affluent area); and

    —  Nexus PTE responsible for transport.

4.   London (inner city)

  Broadwater Farm Estate:

    —  13 kilometres from centre of London;

    —  West Green ward, LB Haringey;

    —  857th IMD 2000 (ie not in 10 per cent most deprived but Broadwater Farm estate is recognised as closer in socio-economic character to the adjacent Bruce Grove ward 207th IMD 2000); and

    —  Transport for London responsible for transport

5.   Devon (rural)

  East and West Worlington, North Devon:

    —  22 kilometres from Tiverton and 14 kilometres from South Molton;

    —  Chumleigh ward;

    —  3337th IMD 2000 (ie not in 10 per cent most deprived but accessibility ranking is only 325th and since 2000 the only bus service has been withdrawn);

    —  Devon County Council responsible for transport.

  Stockland, East Devon:

    —  10 kilometres from Honiton;

    —  Yarty ward;

    —  5566th IMD 2000 (ie not in 10 per cent most deprived but accessibility rank 178th and recently introduced Fare Car scheme);

    —  Devon County Council responsible for transport.


The Consultation

  The transport and social exclusion consultation ran from July 26 to late October. Over 3,000 consultation letters were distributed to people and organisations with an interest in transport and social exclusion issues, including local authorities, commercial operators, academics, local residents, user groups and non-transport service providers (NHS trusts and colleges, for example).

  To support the consultation process, a series of consultation events were held—from Truro to Sunderland—where an SEU speaker discussed the work and heard about local problems and potential solutions.

  Over 850 responses were returned. These have been an important source of information for the project.

Office of National Statistics (ONS) Omnibus survey

  The SEU commissioned the ONS to undertake a series of questions on our behalf as part of their Omnibus survey. These were designed to ascertain the extent to which people experience difficulties accessing services as a result of the current transport system. This provided us with nation-wide data from a reliable and representative sample.

  The Omnibus survey is run eight months of the year and modules can be commissioned in one or more months. The survey asks a variety of questions of a representative sample of adults aged 16 and above. In the SEU commissioned modules, respondents were asked if they used services, how they travelled there and whether or not they found it difficult to access services. The overall response rate for the modules commissioned was 64 per cent, giving a total sample of 6,991 respondents.


  Since the project started, members of the SEU have been on visits both in the UK and abroad—to identify areas of good practice, see innovative solutions and listen to the views of people who suffer from the problems inflicted by poor transport. For example we have visited Cheshire, Edinburgh, Manchester, Lewisham, Newcastle, York and Copenhagen.

  Many of the ideas and thinking behind the projects visited have been included in our interim report.

Outside expertise

  The SEU recruited help and commissioned research from outside of Government to inform its thinking as the project progressed.

  Academics with a transport background and experts with extensive experience of planning transport were asked to offer their advice and opinions.

Annex B

  This evidence has been provided in response to a question regarding the reclaiming of hospital travel costs from the committee member Mr Campbell, to which the SEU undertook to provide an additional note.

    "In some regions where there is a free transport scheme, have you any evidence of marginalised communities who live in the area but do not have access either to rail or buses, that they are marginalised further because of the difficulty that would pertain in terms of reclaiming their hospital travel. Is there any evidence of this?" (Question 527 in the transcript for 21 May)


  1.  Many of the consultation responses we received mention the difficulties individuals face when trying to reclaim their travel costs to hospital, either as a patient or a visitor. This can be due to not knowing the entitlement exists, not knowing how to claim or feeling stigmatised as a result of the process, or because the journey involved to claim the reimbursement would prove too onerous.

  2.  We have also incorporated evidence from the National Travel Survey (NTS) in our analysis of the problem. They found that the service people have most difficulty accessing is healthcare and in particular travelling to hospital . The NTS found that between 15 and 20 per cent of people find it difficult to travel to hospital. For people without a car a much higher proportion of people—31 per cent—experience difficulties.

  3.  On the issue of whether or not we have direct evidence that people in isolated communities are disproportionately affected by the arrangements for receiving financial support, we have only limited anecdotal evidence. For example one consultation response states that

    "We have heard from the residents of Skelmersdale that often they have to return to claim the money, which they cannot afford." (West Lancashire Primary Care Trust)

  4.  However the problems people encounter reclaiming expenses on the day of the visit (perhaps because the hospital admin. office is closed) coupled with the general uneven pattern of transport provision, suggests that marginalised communities are likely to face additional difficulties claiming this entitlement.

35   The Index of multiple deprivation is a ward level index made up of six ward level indices: income, employment, health and disability, education and training, housing and geographical access to services. There are 8,414 wards in England. The most deprived ward is ranked number 1. Back

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