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WI flexes muscles and demands better rural public transport

THE WOMEN'S INSTITUTE blasted Tony Blair again this week, urging him to do more for rural transport and safe routes to school.

Not content with slow hand clapping the Prime Minister during his recent speech to its annual conference, the WI has joined forces with Transport 2000 and groups representing the disabled and elderly to demand improved rural transport in the Government's 10 year transport plan.

WI environment and rural affairs spokesman Ben Saville told NCE this week: 'We are a predominantly rural organisation and we want extra resources to improve public transport in rural areas.'

The WI is part of a group of 12 organisations including Help the Aged and the Royal National Institute for the Blind, which will write to Blair, Tory leader William Hague and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy in July. The letter will urge the Government to address the needs of minorities and the socially excluded in its 10 year transport plan, due next month. Age Concern's Gretal Jones said: 'About 50% of elderly people can't use cars but can't use public transport either because they cannot get on to it. We are concerned that the Government has moved away from the principles set out in the Integrated Transport White Paper.'

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