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Cheshire council criticises £37m bus funding rejection

The government has been criticised by a council for making authorities "compete against each other" in order to win funding to improve bus services.

Cheshire West and Chester Council missed out on its £37m bid to make services more reliable and greener, while 31 areas in England were picked.

Councillor Karen Shore said she was "shocked" at how funding was decided.

The government said areas were chosen on their ambition to repeat the success achieved in London.

In the North West, the government scheme saw Warrington given £16.2m, Liverpool City Region get £12.3m and £34.2m awarded to Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen.

Blackpool also missed out on the funding while Greater Manchester was awarded £94.8m, half the funding it requested.

"I am shocked that not only did councils have to compete against each other, but most of us have not received any support to make crucial improvements to our bus services," Ms Shore said.

The Labour councillor said the authority would work with bus operators on an improvement plan.

Ms Shore said plans would also continue to introduce a rural bus service following a grant from a different government fund.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "The successful areas have been chosen because of their ambition to repeat the success achieved in London - which drove up bus usage and made the bus a natural choice for everyone, not just those without cars."

Areas not showing sufficient ambition, including for improvements to bus priority, would not win a grant, the spokesman added.

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