Raising Age limit in Scotland for bus pass gets nearer

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.

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This topic has been raised many times, the most recent in January 2017

 

One thought on “Raising Age limit in Scotland for bus pass gets nearer

  1. Paul

    Consultation on Free Bus Travel for Older and Disabled People and Modern Apprentices
    I note that the response deadline for the above consultation is 17th November 2017. I have already submitted my own response as an individual but this subject matter should be debated the following be given full consideration.

    Raising the age eligibility discriminates against the populations who reside in the less affluent areas of the country which have the lowest life expectancy.

    The National Records for Scotland 2016 indicate the following life expectancies (for children born within 3 years of 2016): Ref web site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-38142537

    Males in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 80.5

    Males in lowest life expectancy area (Glasgow City): 73.4

    Females in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 83.5

    Females in lowest life expectancy area (West Dunbartonshire): 78.7

    So, the current benefit that the above groups obtain from eligibility at 60 is:

    Males in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 20.5 years

    Males in lowest life expectancy area (Glasgow City): 13.4 years

    Females in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 23.5 years

    Females in lowest life expectancy area (West Dunbartonshire): 18.7 years

    The benefit that the above groups obtain from raising eligibility to 65 is:

    Males in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 15.5 years

    Males in lowest life expectancy area (Glasgow City): 8.4 years

    Females in highest life expectancy area (East Dunbartonshire): 18.5 years

    Females in lowest life expectancy area (West Dunbartonshire): 13.7 years

    It is perfectly clear from the above that it is the population that reside in the poorer areas of the country that will (proportionately) suffer the main burden of any increase in eligibility for the bus pass.

    Just take the figures for males as an example (using the data above):

    Current benefit affluent area = 20.5 years (80.5 – 60.0)

    Current benefit poor area = 13.4 years (73.4 – 60.0)

    Revised benefit affluent area = 15.5 years (80.5 – 65.0)

    Revised benefit poor area = 8.4 years (73.4 – 65.0)

    Just let that sink in for a minute. Raising the eligibility of the bus pass to 65 will give the average male living in Glasgow City only 8.4 years benefit of the bus pass compared to 15.5 years for the average male living in East Dunbartonshire (that is almost half). Although there is a disparity with the current eligibility age of 60 at least the Glasgow City male gets13.4 years (two-thirds of the benefit that an East Dunbartonshire male gates).

    It is perfectly clear from the above that raising the eligibility age is very regressive in comparative terms in that it is the poorer areas with low life expectancy that will suffer the most in terms of the proportion of their life that they will receive this benefit for. These areas tend to be the more populated areas so it would follow that it is the majority of the Scottish population that would suffer in comparison to those in the more affluent areas.

    Any raising of the eligibility age for a bus pass therefore unfairly discriminates against the people that a Scottish Government of any hue would presumably wish to give most assistance to.

    On this basis alone the eligibility age should remain at 60.

    We really need to address social and economic disparity in the country before introducing legislation that hammers the poorest with least life expectancy first.

    Paul.

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