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Concessionary travel: fear over Tory cuts

November 19, 2010 2:19 PM

Following a report to the County Council's Cabinet on the funding arrangements for Concessionary travel in Leicestershire, the Liberal Democrats have highlighted their concerns about the future of various discretionary elements of the scheme currently funded by district councils.

The Government announced some time ago its intention to move responsibility for the administration of Concessionary travel (which subsidies public transport to the elderly and vulnerable adults) from district councils to county councils in a bid to make efficiency savings.

The County is about to undertake a public consultation on the elements of the service which are not part of the national scheme funded by central government and the Liberal Democrats are concerned that this could mean a reduction in the service concessionary travel users receive.

Councillor Roger Wilson said: "The problem here in Leicestershire is that the County Council already administers the system on behalf of most district councils so this move won't actually save any money unless the Conservatives are planning to cut the service currently provided.

Historically our system has been more generous than the national system, because districts have contributed extra resources to help pay for things like pre 9:30 travel at half fare and local train journeys. We believe this scheme is something Leicestershire can be proud of and is greatly valued by many pensioners and adults in need in these tough times.

Another issue is that the current scheme also includes tokens that can be used to fund taxi journeys in areas with no bus service. The loss of these services in particular would be a real blow for people in rural areas and could leave many elderly and vulnerable adults in a position of being more isolated and less mobile.

I would encourage all people who currently receive this valuable service to ensure that they respond to the consultation and also write to their local county councillor urging them to ensure that the Conservatives don't cut Concessionary Travel."