Page last updated at 23:13 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 00:13 UK

Disabled rail access funding cut 'should be suspended'

Disabled access sign
The fund invests in improving access to the railway network for disabled people

Cuts to funding for disabled railway access have come under fire from the Scottish government.

The transport minister has written to the UK Department of Transport calling for a rethink over its move to halve funding to the "Access for All" scheme.

The scheme increases the number of railway stations that are step-free and wheelchair accessible.

The DfT said annual funding for the scheme in Scotland was being cut from £796,000 to £390,000 for 2010-2011.

The department intended to allocate £7.9m to the fund across Britain this year, in line with previous years.

'Great value'

Last October, the initial indication was that Scotland would receive £796,000, as part of its agreed 10% of the budget.

But funding has now been cut across Britain to £3.9m, with the amount available for schemes in Scotland reduced to £390,000 - a 51% cut.

Scotland's Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has called for the cut to be suspended, so the issue can be "revisited" after the general election on 6 May.

In a letter to the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, he voiced "disappointment" at the reduction.

"The work undertaken through the fund is of great value, in particular to some of the most vulnerable in our communities, and it is they who will be most affected by this decision," he wrote.

"I would urge you to reconsider your position on this."



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