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Is it time to scrap free bus passes for pensioners?

It is a question raised by a new report for the Local Government Association.

The Daily Mail reports that the cost of providing free bus passes is £1bn-a-year but that many pensioners are wealthy enough to afford to pay themselves.

Free bus passes for eleven million over-60s were introduced last year as fulfilment of a manifesto promise made by Gordon Brown.

The LGA denied it had to plans to means-test the free passes but told the Mail that the report did "raise some challenges about the long-term affordability of the scheme, whether there are other sections of society who would benefit from reduced-cost travel and how they might be paid for".

VILLIERS THERESA NW Shadow Secretary of State Theresa Villiers issued this statement:

"Labour have wholly failed to live up to their promise to fully fund their concessionary fares. 'For months we have been warning that the shortfall in funding would force local authorities to cut services to fill the gap. Now we are seeing that start to happen. 'This is one of so many Gordon Brown Budget Day soundbites on which he has failed to deliver."

Tim Montgomerie


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