Brighton MP raises the cost of free bus travel for pensioners

Posted On 15 Nov 2010 at 7:37 pm

A Brighton MP is lobbying the Chancellor George Osborne for a fair deal on free bus travel for older people.

Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, said that Brighton and Hove City Council was £3.4 million out of pocket because of the scheme.

He is seeking meetings with Mr Osborne, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to discuss the matter.

Mr Kirby said: “Since the introduction of the concessionary fares scheme in 2008, central government has never provided sufficient subsidy to cover the cost of the scheme.

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“The city council has made up the balance from monies raised through council tax.

“At present, the Council estimates it is underfunded by £3.4 million.”

Mr Kirby is urging ministers to take note of a detailed letter from the council and to meet with him and councillors and finance officers to find a fairer way forward.

Mr Kirby said: “I personally support, and David Cameron has pledged to

maintain, the free bus pass for older people.

“However, the scheme has to be funded fairly.

“The city council has put together a very helpful and clear technical document which I sent to ministers last week.

“I am seeking a meeting so that a more equitable and fair way forward might be found which will benefit both local taxpayers and older people using the bus alike.”

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