Brighton MP speaks out about free bus travel for older people

Posted On 26 Nov 2010 at 12:42 pm

A Brighton MP has called on the government to rethink the way that it funds free bus travel for pensioners.

He said that the current formula had left the council tax payers of Brighton and Hove £3.4 million out of pocket.

Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, said that tourism and other factors should be taken into account.

He was speaking in a House of Commons debate in Westminster Hall yesterday.

In reply, the Liberal Democrat Transport Minister and Lewes MP Norman Baker said that he had noted Mr Kirby’s comments and would relay them to the Communities Secrtary Eric Pickles.

Mr Kirby cited figures provided by Brighton and Hove City Council showing that the city

receives £5.5 million in subsidy from the government for concessionary fares.

However, that leaves a £3.4 million shortfall which has to be taken from other services or supported by the council tax.

Mr Kirby said: “I support concessionary bus fares for older people but it has to be funded properly.

“The previous government put a system in place that particularly disadvantages Brighton and Hove.

“With a new government we have a chance to provide a better funding mechanism that

both allows older people to enjoy their bus passes but provides a fair outcome for the city’s local taxpayers.

“I wanted to press the minister today following my letters to the Chancellor, the Transport Secretary and the Communities and Local Government Secretary.”

  1. A Thorpe Reply

    Just increase the state pension and let pensioners decide how to spend their money. It is a much simpler system.

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