The government is about to scrap the fare concessions given to the over 60s and all disabled people.
In taking this step, it has been influenced by the pressure group ‘Reform’, who were featured on the BBC’s ‘Breakfast’ programme today. The argument from ‘Reform’ is that most of the people that use these concessions on the coaches “can afford to pay the full fare” and that the funding is poorly targeted. This is a weak argument for a subsidy of £17 million.
The Home Access scheme that gave free laptops and broadband to 270,000 poorer families was slashed by the coalition government soon after they came into office. The scheme used receipt of free school meals as a benchmark for identifying poor children. Nothing could have been better aimed at the disadvantaged child, but the scheme was nevertheless abandoned.
So, on the one hand we have a scheme abandoned on the basis that most of the recipients can afford to pay and another abandoned where it is clearly evident that the recipients could not afford to pay. The fact is that this government – in cahoots with groups like ‘Reform’ – will use any excuse to remove subsidies and concessions to the disadvantaged and elderly.