My Government will legislate to make sure all local councils offer a fair deal for pensioners on concessionary travel.
Pensioners and disabled people in the Deepings, Stamford, and Bourne get a raw deal from the Scrooges at South Kesteven District Council. I've come to the conclusion that things will only improve when new laws force them to change.
It is wrong that our pensioners and disabled people are penalised for using buses to get to local shops and hospitals in Peterborough, when those who live further away using the same buses actually pay less.
I’ve tried without success to get Lincolnshire County Council to act as an honest broker to develop a county-wide partnership of all local authorities working together for a fairer deal.
Sadly, SKDC are stubbornly not interested and despite years of trying, we still have the meanest scheme in the whole county.
It’s particularly galling when you see how other counties manage to deliver a far better service for their pensioners.
Cheshire County Council, for example, has just revealed that their county-wide scheme giving off-peak free bus travel for older people and people with disabilities has shown a tremendous 26 per cent increase in bus use since it began in April.
The County acted as broker for the whole of Cheshire in a scheme first brought in thanks to Gordon Brown’s Budget in 2005.
The Cheshire Districts Scheme offers the enhanced benefit of free off-peak travel and half price free travel on any local bus service beginning or ending in Cheshire, Halton or Warrington.
Labour’s Transport spokesman for Cheshire, Councillor Peter Byrne says:
There are a lot of older people throughout Cheshire who are benefiting from the free travel.
Where visiting their children or grandchildren had previously entailed a significant cost, now they don’t have to count the pennies before deciding on an outing.
I am also aware that people are simply taking advantage of the new free buses to get about more and enjoy life better.
The free travel is paid for by a special grant to the councils from the Government which has decided to use your taxes in this popular and rewarding way.
I believe Gordon Brown deserves congratulations.
Since SKDC and Lincolnshire County Council are clearly unable to get their act together, maybe the Queen’s Speech will bring fresh hope of a fair deal everywhere, but specially for pensioners and disabled people in Deepings, Bourne and Stamford!