Helston and The Lizard MP Andrew George has condemned "draconian" plans by bus company First to axe dozens of loss-making services and more than 130 local jobs.

Mr George, who was due to discuss the cuts with First's managing director yesterday afternoon, said he had been inundated with correspondence from residents concerned they would be left without vital public transport links.

He said: "The postbag is now beginning to bulge with complaints about the proposed service changes. Not everyone has access to a car and many of my constituents, especially in the more rural areas, will be left either without a bus service, or with a very depleted service.

"Some constituents, especially schoolchildren, now face a potentially dangerous walk along busy country roads without pavements in order to reach the bus stops of a severely depleted service."

Mr George said news of the cuts had come just as passengers were starting to see an improvement on the "dire" services endured over the past couple of years.

Fellow MPs in Cornwall, and transport watchdogs, have reacted angrily to the sweeping cuts, which were announced last week.

The latest proposals come in the wake of the planned closure of First's Truro depot. Now up to 35 drivers from Camborne, Truro and Falmouth will lose their jobs, with a further 12 admin and management from the depot. A total of 15 "less well-used services" in the area will be axed and a further 35 will undergo changes. Up to 20 engineering staff will go from the St Austell depot which is also marked for closure.

Falmouth and Camborne MP Candy Atherton said: "I am very disappointed to learn of the 12 redundancies in my constituency and reductions in bus services."

She was hoping to have a meeting with the managing director of First, Gerald Taylor, to discuss the changes.

"These are commercial decisions because First cannot run at a loss but I will also be contacting the county council about replacing services where they are necessary to local people in my constituency. Stithians, for example, has lost links to nearby towns. I am also concerned that the Falmouth town centre service has been withdrawn due to poor management of traffic in the main street."

Truro MP Matthew Taylor said: "Frankly First management don't know whether they are coming or going - and neither do their customers or staff," he said. "This is bad news indeed, and a real letdown by First group."

David Ridgewell for Transport 2000 said his group was "extremely concerned" and would be lobbying the county council to do all it could to fund services so desperately needed in the county. "We are not surprised by the news," he said. "We need to find a better way of funding bus services in Cornwall. The county council should decide which routes they want to keep and fund them."

Transport spokesman for Mebyon Kernow David Tellam, challenged First to re-invest in Cornwall and its public transport network.

"Everybody wants a bus service, but in a predominantly rural area like Cornwall there isn't enough money for everyone to have one," he said.

Robert Hichens from Mylor and a county councillor said: "Subsidising passenger journeys costs the county council around £4 million a year at present, but transport budgets are under pressure for the coming year so there are no guarantees that we can extend subsidies to extra routes."

Mr Taylor for First said: "This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. We find ourselves losing money and like all bus companies we cannot allow this situation to continue. First is a major employer in Cornwall and we have to make sure that we keep ourselves on a firm financial footing."

Proposed changes to First's services are due to come into effect on May 26, with the new timetable available from May 16.