Mike Rumbles MSP has accused the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister of withholding plans to change concessionary bus travel for the over 60s.
In a series of Parliamentary Questions tabled by the North East MSP, the Minister has been caught out paying lip service to an ‘informal’ consultation by announcing part of the proposed changes before the Local Election this May while at the same time waiting until the summer to announce any modifications to the age that the over 60s receive their pass.
The Minister outlined plans to include 35,000 apprentices in the scheme and protecting current pass-holders while at the same time holding an ‘informal’ consultation on whether the age threshold will be raised for the 70,000 people due to receive the pass, each year.
Commenting Mr Rumbles said:
“This type of manipulation of facts brings politics into disrepute and is precisely why people don’t trust the Scottish Government to deliver on their pre-election promises.
“The Minister has clearly set out his plans to protect current pass holders and include a new group of young apprentices. That is welcome but he has also said that we will have to wait until after the Local Elections to find out if people approaching 60 will miss out on free travel for several years.
“Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis has shown that if the Scottish Government were to opt raise the age at which people qualify for a bus pass to 65 then 350,000 fewer people would qualify. In return, SNP ministers would extend the scheme to around 35,000 people.
“This ‘informal’ consultation is not a consultation at all, it’s a disgrace. The Scottish Government should stop holding the public in contempt, come clean on their plans and announce categorically whether the minimum age for pass-holders will be raised this year.”