Tony Blair has endorsed London’s Freedom Pass which guarantees over a million older and disabled Londoners free travel on the tube, bus, train and tram at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
The Prime Minister, who was questioned by Eltham MP Clive Efford, said the pass was “extremely important” adding it was “a tremendous boon for pensioners and disabled people in London. It has been through partnerships with the Mayor of London and local councils.”
“We have managed to ensure that free local transport is there for pensioners. And when the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill comes before the Houses of Parliament next Monday, I hope the opposition will not put that progress at risk.”
The second reading of the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill is due to be discussed by MPs on Monday 14th May.
The Prime Minister’s comments were welcomed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone who claimed “e London Freedom Pass has been repeatedly attacked by London Assembly members, local councillors and Lords.”
“In five days time, MPs will discuss bus travel in the UK as part of the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill. When the bill was debated in the Lords, there was an attempt to undermine the Freedom Pass with amendments, sponsored by the London Councils umbrella group, which would abolish the ability of the Mayor of London to guarantee the scheme.”
“The Freedom Pass is a London-wide scheme guaranteed by the Mayor. I am determined that it stays that way.”
The Mayor said the concession transformed life “for hundreds of thousands of Londoners” adding “it was introduced in its current form by the GLC when I was leader and it will never be watered down while I am Mayor of London.”