Prime Minister promises to 'look at' Bolton's overcrowded train problem
PRIME Minister David Cameron has promised to look at the issue of Bolton’s overcrowded trains during a whirlwind visit to the town.
Mr Cameron visited The Bolton News following the announcement the Bolton to Wigan railway line will also be electrified with £37 million investment.
In an exclusive interview with The Bolton News, Mr Cameron heard about our Let’s Get Back on Track campaign and acknowledged there is a problem with congestion on the borough’s train services.
He said: “I think the point is here is there is a programme of electrification and the situation between Bolton and Manchester has got a little bit worse with also the other electrification that’s taking place.
“When this new electrification takes place then I think we will see a better service — it’s the consequence of investment rather than the consequences of not making investment.
He added: “If it’s possible to have more carriages added to Bolton services, I will go away and look into it.
“It very much struck me reading all the information about what’s happening, and the good news coming with the electrification if there is any way of adding carriages in the short-term. I will certainly take that one away.”
Mr Cameron also discussed the town’s Christmas markets and Bolton’s ferris wheel, town centre investment and the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
He said that the cap on business rates, announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week, would be a boost to Bolton’s high street.
Mr Cameron added: “I’m very conscious of this high street issue — it affects towns right up and down the country.
“I think part of that is because of the way people are shopping and because of online businesses but town centre businesses do face an unfair situation.
“That’s why the Chancellor in his last Autumn statement has announced this £1,000 cut in business rates, a rebate effectively for properties under £50,000 which will be mostly high street properties, that I think will be a bonus.”
When asked questions on the under-occupancy penalty — dubbed the bedroom tax — Mr Cameron said it was a question of fairness to the people who need a home against those who have spare rooms.
He added: “It is worth remembering, here we are in Bolton where there are 27,499 people on the housing waiting list, people who would like houses, and we have got to start off with the big picture — which is it sensible use of public money to pay extra for people to live in houses with more rooms than they need?
“There are those who can keep the spare room subsidy, either because they are disabled and need an extra room for an overnight carer, or there are whole groups people who are exempt from it like pensioners .
“Then there are also difficult cases, which is what the discretionary fund if for, and it has been increased and can be used for those cases.
“Obviously there are people who are hard cases and can’t find anywhere else to live or can’t find work, and that is what the fund is for.”
Mr Cameron called in to Bolton on a trip to the north.
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