Minister challenged over free bus pass age change

Thursday January 26th 2017

Lothian 49 Bus in Dalkeith

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, this week used Topical Questions at Holyrood to challenge Scottish Ministers to scrap a proposed consultation on raising the age at which people qualify for a free bus pass.

Free bus passes for the over-60s and disabled cost about £200 million a year and today Transport Minister Humza Yousaf refused to back down on plans to question the age of eligibility.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:

“The benefits of free bus travel for people over 60 are huge, and it makes no sense to change what can be a lifeline for many. Not only do we not need a consultation on this, we need to see ministers rethinking their proposed cuts of almost £10million in the concessionary fares element of the budget.

“It beggars belief that at the same time as proposing cuts to bus service funding and restricting who gets a bus pass, Scottish Ministers want to give wealthy frequent fliers and hugely polluting aviation firms an easier ride by cutting Air Passenger Duty. Access to everyday public transport is a social justice issue, something the SNP have failed to grasp despite being in government for almost a decade.”

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