Consultation on bus pass age qualification in Scotland closed 17th Nov 17 – announcement imminent ?

In Scotland people aged 60 or over are holding their breaths whilst the outcome of The Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of bus pass entitlement in Scotland is awaited. The closing date for responses was November 17th 2017. In brief the 3 options consulted on are:

  1. make no change to the scheme, leaving the eligibility rules as they are (i.e. age 60); or
  2. raise the age of eligibility for both men and women in one step from 60 to the (female) State Pension age (which will be 65 in November 2018 and will increase to 68 over a number of years )
  3. raise the age of eligibility for men and women progressively towards the State Pension age (see 2 above) by annual increases of one year or half a year to the age of eligibility.

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Social care postcode gap widens for older people

Older people in England’s most deprived areas are twice as likely to lack the help they need for basic acts, like using the toilet or taking medicine, compared with those in the richest neighbourhoods, according to figures that expose gross inequalities in access to social care.

The official analysis is another sign that years of cuts have damaged the ability of councils in poor areas to meet the growing demand for care, potentially putting significant pressure on the NHS. It comes on the back of the crisis over social care that is still unresolved. There have been a series of warnings about a multibillion-pound funding black hole and increasingly severe consequences for the health service.

A third of men aged 65 and over in the most deprived areas (33%) have an unmet need for at least one so-called “activity of daily living”, such as washing their face and hands or getting out of bed. In the least deprived areas the figure falls to 15%. Meanwhile, 42% of women over 65 in the most deprived areas have an unmet need for at least one such activity, compared with 22% of their counterparts in the richest areas.

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Theresa May’s chaotic Cabinet reshuffle


Theresa May has appointed Brandon Lewis as the new chairman of the Conservative Party as part of her eagerly anticipated Cabinet reshuffle.

Mrs May has moved David Lidington from his role as Justice Secretary to become Damian Green’s replacement as Minister for the Cabinet Office.

However, Mr Lidington has not been handed Mr Green’s former title as First Secretary of State – effectively de facto deputy prime minister – but his new job will hand him significant…

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NHS hospitals in England made £174m from car park charges in 2016/17, and NIL in Scotland or Wales

Car Parking Charges

NHS hospitals made a record £174m from charging patients, visitors and staff to park in 2016/17, up 6% on the previous year.

Data from 111 hospital trusts across England shows that as many as two-thirds are making more than £1m a year. More than half of trusts now charge disabled people to park.

Some trusts defended the charges, saying they were essential to pay for patient care. But opposition parties and patient support groups were critical, with one group saying they were “cynical” but blaming the state of NHS finances rather than the trusts themselves.

The Liberal Democrats condemned the charges as a “tax on sickness” while Labour said it was committed to ending them.

Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
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The government condemned “complex and unfair” parking charges and called for reform, but a Department of Health spokesman said they were a matter for local NHS organisations rather than central regulation.

Our comment: A founding principal of the foundation of the NHS was created out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. We regard the way hospitals are charging for hospital parking is incompatible with that principal.

Parking remains largely free at hospitals in Scotland and Wales.

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proposal to raise eligibility age for concessionary travel could have damaging effect on bus services in rural Scotland

The Scottish Government’s proposal to raise the eligibility age for concessionary travel could have a damaging effect on bus services in South-West Scotland, SWestrans, the area’s regional transport partnership, has warned.

Responding to Transport Scotland’s concessionary fares consultation (LTT 15 Sep), SWestrans says that any raising of the age eligibility criteria could see the number of bus journeys fall.

 

Scottish Borders Council backs free bus pass age rise

Sad to hear,  but

Councillors in the Borders have backed increasing the age at which people are eligible for a free bus pass to the state pension age.

The Scottish government is consulting on changing the qualification criteria.

It could mean people aged 60 and over would not automatically be entitled to free bus travel in Scotland.

Scottish Borders Council backed increasing the age but also wanted to ensure people with disabilities kept getting the pass regardless of age.

However, in neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway the region’s transport partnership – Swestrans – has urged no changes to the scheme.

It has said any move to raise the age level could threaten local services.

The consultation on any changes was announced earlier this year.

It could see the scheme – introduced in 2006 – extended to Modern Apprentices and those on Job Grants but it is looking at the “long-term sustainability” of offering all those over 60 free travel.

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Guide for ministers on potential for sacking

 

Place yourselves in the shoes of these controversial ministers and try to decide whether you would get the old heave-ho, have to gracefully fall on your sword, or carry on regardless.

Ministerial resignation advice in the Guardian

For those whose prospects look threatened a pro-forma letter is now available.

Dundee council rejects Scottish Government bid to raise bus pass age limit to 65

Council chiefs are set to reject proposals to raise the age limit on free bus travel — as they call on ministers to protect local services.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on a proposal to raise the age at which free bus travel can be claimed from 60 to 65.

The proposed change could take effect next year, when the women’s state pension age is equalised with that of men at 65.

However, Dundee City Council council bosses are officially opposed to the move and next week members look set to ratify a statement that will be sent to ministers — saying occasional bus users are being hit by higher prices needed to fund the scheme.

The council said in its statement: “The bus is primarily used by people travelling around their local communities — again people mainly from low-income households, elderly and disabled, women and younger people. The Government should be safeguarding expenditure for those modes of transport that support those with most need in society.

“If Government is to push ahead with this change, a significant proportion of the savings should be ring-fenced for supporting the local bus network.”

A report to be considered at the city development committee on Monday states that the current reimbursement system has driven up the costs of adult single tickets — making bus travel for occasional users seem expensive.

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Greater Manchester Women affected by pension changes could benefit from free off peak travel

The move comes after Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, made a commitment in his manifesto to support the women most affected.

The group experiencing the longest delays to their pension are those who were born between December 1953 and November 1954, who will have to wait an extra 18 months before they receive their pension – and were not properly notified of the change following the 2011 Pensions Act.

This accounts for up to 14,000 women across Greater Manchester. In addition women born in both October and November 1953 were amongst the group who received the least notice of the changes and have yet to qualify for their State Pension and so are also being included in the proposals.

Based on research conducted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), leaders are now set to discuss the introduction of free off peak concessionary travel in Greater Manchester for these women at the next meeting of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on 27 October.

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the bus is helping to drive Scotland’s economy

It is a maligned mode of transport, but the bus is helping to drive Scotland’s economy, says Martyn McLaughlin. With an unrivalled location on the Black Isle’s north-west coast and panoramic views of the Cromarty Firth, it should come as no surprise that the village of Culbokie is increasingly favoured by those who work in Inverness. On a good day, it takes a little over 20 minutes to skirt across the Kessock bridge, a commute well worth it for the chance to reside in one of Scotland’s most picturesque spots.
The only caveat, however, is that you need a car. In April, Stagecoach withdrew its service after losing out in a Highland Council re-tendering exercise. Now, residents in the rural nook who wish to travel to Inverness by public transport are forced to traipse nearly two miles to flag down a passing service, and even then, their window of opportunity is limited. According to Norlil Charlton, a member of a local action group battling to get a direct service reinstated, it is impossible to get to Inverness before 10am, or return to Culbokie after 2:30pm. The only alternative is to hitch a lift, or pay around £50 for a round trip in a taxi. At least one family has moved to Cromarty as a result.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/martyn-mclaughlin-public-buses-are-lifeline-and-vital-to-scots-economy-1-4589528

 

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Cruel scammers are preying on elderly victims through computers and smart phones

Cruel scammers are preying on elderly victims through computers and smart phones, MPs were warned.

Web fraudsters are forcing older people offline for good after preying on elderly victims through computers and smart phones, MPs were warned.

OAPs’ confidence in digital technology is so shaken by internet crime they decide they no longer want to be online, the Public Accounts Committee was told.

Victims are even going into care homes after being targeted, experts revealed.

Age UK policy chief Jane Vass said there was “huge scope to do much, much more” to tackle web tricksters.

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