London

Discretionary Freedom travel passes cut by Lambeth council

  • 11 February 2012
  • From the section London

Hundreds of people with mental health problems in south London are to lose their free travel passes because of council cuts.

Lambeth council, in south London, has said it can no longer afford to fund discretionary Freedom Passes.

But a mental health patients support group said the cuts would leave people with mental health issues "isolated".

Labour Lambeth councillor Jim Dickson said: "By scrapping them, Lambeth could save up to half a million pounds."

New criteria

About 8,500 people in the capital and nearly 750 people in Lambeth currently receive a discretionary Freedom Pass.

The majority of the people in Lambeth who currently receive a pass are expected to lose this under new criteria introduced by the council.

Andrew Ridge, 51, from Brixton, who is currently eligible for a Freedom Pass said: "Although it has not gone, I've already started to act as if it's gone."

"I don't feel I can take up new things that I can't afford to continue."

Lisa Shokir, who runs a drop-in centre for people with mental health issues, based in Lambeth Accord, said: "Taking the bus freedom passes off people with mental health issues is they will become isolated, or even get ill, or not keep hospital appointments because they can't afford to travel."

But Mr Dickson said: "There are people who need the passes who currently receive them who may not get them in the future because we need to focus the service on those most in need."

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