At a debate in Westminster yesterday, Black Country MP John Spellar defended the bus pass scheme and called on the Government not to take “any action to change the availability of bus passes for pensioners.”

In the debate, Mr Spellar highlighted the health benefits of the bus pass scheme in keeping many pensioners active. Saying that, “There are lots of studies ?now on the impact of loneliness on older people. This scheme helps to get people out and about, and maintains their health for much longer.”

 

ENDS

HANSARD:
John Spellar (Warley) (Lab)

Surely a proper cost-benefit analysis ought to be part of that assessment. In many rural areas, the benefit is that people in smaller, local towns can access services. Most significantly, the benefit is to the health budget, by keeping so many of our pensioners active and engaged. There are lots of studies ?now on the impact of loneliness on older people. This scheme helps to get people out and about, and maintains their health for much longer.

John Spellar

 

Just before my hon. Friend moves on, I want to make a point that may lead on to the next part of his speech. Does he share my concern about the Resolution Foundation’s report today that calls for increased taxes and charges on pensioners? It once again raises the concern that many pensioners have that their use of or access to bus passes will be rationed or restricted. I hope he would say that that certainly should not happen, and perhaps give the Minister an opportunity to make it clear on behalf of the Government that they will definitely not be taking any action to change the availability of bus passes for pensioners.

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