The age limit for free bus passes could be raised as a consultation on the benefit gets under way.
Transport minister Humza Yousaf has issued a call for views on proposals aimed at making the concessionary travel scheme affordable in future.
More than 1.3 million over-60s and disabled people benefit from the free bus pass, accounting for about 145 million journeys each year or a third of all those made in Scotland.
The scheme is facing a £9.5m cut in the 2017-18 draft budget despite rising numbers of older people.
Yousaf insisted passes would not be taken away from those who already benefit or are due to obtain one before the changes come in.
Labour said the SNP has “no mandate” to make cuts to the bus pass budget as no such policy was in their manifesto for the 2016 Holyrood election.
The new consultation looks at whether the age of eligibility should be raised in one go or gradually to bring it into line with the state pension age, which will be equalised for men and women in 2018.
A GLASGOW MSP is asking constituents to help him with a dilemma of ageing.
John Mason wants to find out if people think he should apply for a free bus pass as he has just turned 60.
Mr Mason, while agreeing with the concessionary travel scheme, said he is in a well-paid job and can easily afford the bus fare.
He is grappling with the decision of using what he is entitled to or accepting something for free at a cost to the public purse, which on a MSP salary of almost £62,000 he can afford to pay for. Read more
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has accused the Conservatives of doing the ‘bare minimum’ for older people and of ‘shameful’ treatment of pensioners.
In the run up to the general election in June a key battleground is over the state pension, with Labour pledging to keep the triple lock on the state pension but the Tories yet to make a commitment to this.
SNP MP for Ross Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford has today claimed the Tory Party is u-turning on the triple lock and depriving pensioners of support.
‘The Tories have turned their back on our older people,’ he said.
‘As well as potentially u-turning on the triple lock on the state pension, they have done absolutely nothing to encourage older people to claim the vital financial support they are entitled to. Instead, the Tories are happy to let almost £300 million sit in the Treasury’s coffers rather than try and get extra support to those who need it.’
Think you’ll get a free bus pass at 60? Think again
THE age at which Scots qualify for a free bus pass is to rise, The Sunday Post can reveal.
In the face of soaring costs, SNP ministers are planning to increase the eligibility age for the popular concessionary travel scheme from 60.
A public consultation on the move will get under way later this year but it is understood current holders of the free bus pass will be unaffected.
The move was meant to have been launched this month but has now been put off until after May’s council elections.
The plan would leave Scots worse off than many parts of England, such as London, where the concessionary travel scheme starts at 60.
Around 200,000 people between the ages of 60 and 65 currently hold a free bus pass with many people who have retired early enjoying the benefits of the card.
Last month a £10 million black hole in the funding for the bus pass scheme was revealed in the Scottish Government’s draft budget.
Grilled by MSPs on whether entitlement for bus pass holders would remain unchanged in the wake of this cash shortfall, a top Transport Scotland official pointedly said: “For those who have the card, yes, absolutely.”
Labour have claimed older people are getting a “raw deal” from the Scottish Government’s draft budget as concessionary travel is in line for cuts of almost £10m.
The party’s transport spokesman Neil Bibby raised fears that fares for paying customers will rise and lifeline bus routes will be cut as the funds for subsidised and free travel for disabled and older people is reduced by £9.5m next year.
The Scottish Government’s budget document plans to cut concessionary travel cash from £207.8m in 2016/17 to £198.3m in 2017/18, but a Transport Scotland spokeswoman said the free bus pass scheme would continue “exactly as it does at present”.
The document states the government will “constrain payments under the concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people as a result of a negotiated settlement with the bus sector and develop options in consultation with stakeholders to safeguard the scheme’s longer-term sustainability”. Read more
Scottish Labour is to launch a new campaign to re-regulate the bus industry and improve “declining” services over the next parliament. The party accused the SNP of neglecting public transport and putting “profits before passengers” during nearly a decade in government.
Labour highlighted Transport Scotland statistics showing the number of bus journeys in Scotland fell 15% between 2007/08 and 2014/15, from 488 million to 414 million.
The same statistics show vehicle kilometres covered by Scotland’s local commercial and subsidised bus services fell by 66 million over the same period, from 397 million to 331 million. The Bus Service Operators Grant has been cut by £13 million, or 20%, over the past five years while bus fares have climbed by 18% at current prices. Labour said the SNP had supported regulating the bus industry before entering government in 2007 but had since taken no action.
The historic Scottish firm has removed traditional Lion Rampant motif
Move has angered cybernats who have called Scots to boycott the treat
Managing director Boyd Tunnock was a vocal supporter of No campaign
By MAUREEN SUGDEN FOR THE SCOTTISH DAILY MAIL
It is one of Scotland’s most historic firms, whose foil-wrapped tea cakes delight tastebuds the world over.
But Tunnock’s has incurred the wrath of cybernats after rebranding the sweet treat as British, with its traditional Lion Rampant motif missing from a new advertising campaign in England.
The promotion, which has appeared on the London Underground, also describes the product as ‘Tunnock’s Great British Tea Cake’.>
Managing director Boyd Tunnock was a vocal supporter of the No campaign in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014.
The 82-year-old biscuit baron – grandson of founder Thomas Tunnock, who started the company in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, in 1890 – said of the change: ‘It was the idea of my son-in-law, Fergus Loudon, who is the sales manager and looks after advertising. You’ve got The Great British Bake Off and things like that these days.
Just a few comments received recently from visitors to our Blog:
Not happy, just logged in to get my bus pass at 62 can’t get my bus pass until i’m 64 this is discrimination and should taken the the EU court of law, we all pay our taxes to the same government yet the English are penalised with the date we can receive our bus pas why do we have to suffer, in Scotland and Wales they get it at 60 why are the English discriminated against? it’s not fair and it’s not politically correct. it’s time this was challenged in court. Roy
I retired at 55 but will be unable to have a bus pass or state pension until I am 66. I appreciate you have rules for state pension but why do some areas offer bus passes at 60 including Scotland and Wales. Being English certainly doesn’t pay! Leslie
Having received my bus pass at age 60 …and also my sister just got hers in London…I advised a friend she was entitled to hers. Now find I’m embarrassed having given her the wrong information as she lives in Yorkshire. Why is there such a discrepancy? Why are people entitled in London and Merseyside? Special people? Genie
I am shocked to find out that England is not giving free bus passes at 60 like it does to Scotland (I am Scottish) and Wales. I have the good fortune to be Scottish but residing in wales now. It is totally wrong not to give English the same as Scotland and Wales a free bus pass automatically at 60. wrong, wrong, wrong. I have an English friend who turns 60 this july who cannot claim free bus pass till quite a few years from now who cannot retire because she cant afford to and working in extreme pain from arthritis (in the nhs. of all places) and to add insult to injury so to speak ,cant even get a free bus pass to work. I will gladly join all of you in England in getting up a petition to fight this. It is discrimination at the highest level. By the way I would not have voted to break up the Union had I still been living in Scotland last year ( when I moved to Wales a few months before.) I am Scottish and proud to be but also British. We should all be equal in the British Isles. This is not fair for all of you in England. Please someone let me know what I can do to further your cause. An Angry Scotsman!!!!!!!!. Magregor
IN 2006, Jack McConnell’s Labour-LibDem coalition introduced the National Bus Travel Concession Scheme in place of a patchwork of regional concession schemes. That should have been a good thing.
It created a uniform arrangement across Scotland, ironing out inconsistencies and ending disparities. Some local authorities had issued free bus passes to those on the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance, while others had refused.
Unfortunately, the new national scheme failed to level everyone up. Instead, it excluded those on lower-rate DLA.
Now many people whose old cards have expired and are due for renewal are suddenly discovering they don’t qualify for a new pass. For those with significant learning disabilities, this is a devastating blow. They now have to deal with the complexities of making sure they have change for the bus and explaining their destination to the driver. Many people with learning disabilities will never drive a car, or work full-time, or earn much more than the national minimum wage. Yet they will forever be forced to pay full fare on our expensive public transport.
It also means that a 60-year-old man in full-time employment can get a bus pass but his 18-year-old autistic daughter can’t.
I’m all for universality. I’d be up for a publicly funded free transport system for all. But if we are to choose who gets a bus pass, surely people with learning disabilities should be at the front of the queue?
Enable’s Stop the Bus campaign is asking the Scottish Read more
‘Show some respect!’ Furious Speaker Bercow rebukes new Scots Nats MPS for breaking strict Commons protocol by clapping during the Queen’s Speech debate.
SNP MPs clapped at least three times during party leader’s speech today
Clapping is allowed in the Scottish Parliament but not in the Commons
The scenes forced Commons Speaker John Bercow to issue stern warning
He said: ‘It would be appreciated if members would show some respect’
Speaker takes dim view of Scots MPs clapping.
Scottish National MPs were this afternoon warned to ‘show some respect’ after continuously breaking into applause in the Commons – breaking strict Parliamentary protocol.
The party’s MPs clapped on at least three occasions as their Westminster leader Angus Robertson delivered his response to the Queen’s Speech.
The scenes forced the Commons Speaker John Bercow to step in – rebuking the MPs for their un-Parliamentary behaviour.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3099636/Show-respect-Furious-Bercow-rebukes-clapping-Scots-Nats-breaking-strict-Commons-rules.html#ixzz3bSCzl46i
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