Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Transport Chiefs Oppose Means-Testing of Pensioners

The deputy prime minister's suggestion that pensioners should have their benefits means-tested look set to be opposed by Transport for Greater Manchester.


TfGM reckons that means-testing the over-60's and withholding concessionary bus passes from people who has income above a certain level would discourage elderly people from using public transport.


More to the point, they say the move could leave pensioners isolated and not reduce costs as expected as administration costs would increase.


So, councillors on the TfGM committee are being asked to oppose any introduction of means testing, and to ask their chairman to write to local MPs, Integrated Transport Authorities and the Local Government Association to press them to back the continuation of a national scheme that is fully funded by central Government, and oppose the introduction of means-testing.


A recent study by the Transport Action Group — Manchester said: “The variety of pursuits for which bus passes are used demonstrates it is a key tool for supporting national, regional and local policy objectives of promoting active and sustainable travel.”


“It also improves levels of mental and physical health and well-being through keeping pass-holders mobile and socially connected.


“Continued support for the current arrangements should therefore be considered a high priority, when allocating funding.”


In Greater Manchester there were 540,100 people aged over 60 last year, with some 467,500 of them having a concessionary pass.


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