The Government has been condemned for hitting Londoners with “a double whammy” after a consultation document revealed Ministers intend to remove almost £29m from the funding of London’s Freedom Pass.
Much of the scheme’s cost is covered by London’s boroughs however the capital receives Government funding to help cover the cost of providing free off peak bus travel in the capital.
Under a three year package announced in 2008 London would have received £58 million in 2010/2011. However Transport Minister Sadiq Khan has announced he will re-open consultation on the final year of the settlement.
Councillor Merrick Cockell, Chair of the pan-London body London Councils which administers the Freedom Pass scheme, said: “the government’s decision at this late stage to alter the deal already agreed is absolutely stunning and will be met with anger across the capital.”
“Boroughs have already budgeted for this funding and now London is facing having the amount of funding it was promised almost halved. Under this funding regime London is already disadvantaged, compared to other parts of England, and today’s decision could impact on the services boroughs provide.”
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson and chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said the proposed cut would come as “a double whammy” to Londoners already facing a fares hike by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Pidgeon warned that “hard up London council taxpayers, who are already facing a steep rise in fares, will now have to pay even more in their council tax to maintain London’s Freedom Pass.”
The consultation document is available on the Department for Transport website and responses must be received by 30th December 2009