Lib Dems deny mulling free bus passes for children in England

 
Nick Clegg The free travel plan would cost hundreds of millions of pounds, the Telegraph said

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A senior Lib Dem has denied reports that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was "very keen" to introduce free bus travel for all under-16s in England.

Transport minister Norman Baker said claims in the Daily Telegraph that the Lib Dems were developing the idea were "simply not true".

On the BBC News Channel, he said ministers were exploring other ways to cut transport costs for young people.

"This is an interesting idea," a senior Lib Dem source had told the BBC.

"But it's far too early to say whether it can be delivered," the source added.

According to the Telegraph, the aim was to reduce the risk of children being involved in road accidents and curb the number of cars on the road, bringing environmental benefits.

Mr Baker said: "We're certainly interested as a government in trying to help young people who are facing significant challenges with their transport costs, particularly on buses, and that's certainly something that Nick [Clegg] is interested in.

"But we've had no discussions at all, Nick and me or anyone else as far as I know, about the idea of giving free travel to under-16s. That's simply not true."

Mr Baker had previously told Parliament he was working with the bus companies to try to narrow the disparity between the costs of bus travel for children in different parts of the country.

Under-16s and under-18s in full-time education in London have been able to travel on buses without paying for almost 10 years, while some children in other parts of the country benefit from means-tested schemes.

Oversight of transport policy is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 62.

    60.spam spam spam spam
    "Walking & cycling in London is actually a danger to most peoples health due to polution"

    So. Instead of getting people to walk, reducing the volume of traffic, you think we should encourage MORE busses on the roads of London - ergo more pollution? Really?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    I really take issue with some of the comments on here.

    To those complaining of children showing no respect, lead by example by showing respect to children. Yes, children can sometimes be loud but let them. We were all children once!

    As for it using tax payers' money, that's how the tax system works. You can't pick and choose where your tax goes, it should pay for any important public services.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 60.

    53.TykeInLondon
    12 Minutes ago
    The problem with giving free bus travel to children (like in London) is that it acts as a massive disincentive to walk and cycle.

    +++
    Sorry, but in London thats a good thing.

    Walking & cycling in London is actually a danger to most peoples health due to polution, children the elderly & those with medical conditions are most at risk, but so is everyone

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 59.

    Rather have free tv and not pay license fee than have free bus passes for youth. BBC severance payments to top execs a disgrace.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 58.

    That'll really help with the childhood obesity problem! A daft idea.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 57.

    34. Gouldy
    As I understand it the elderly bus pass is tracking women's retirement age at present. Therefore, within a few years it will only be available to people aged 66 and over.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 56.

    No. keep them off the buses until they are old and wise enough to treat other passengers with respect. I don't mind their persistent swearing but the graphic and loud descriptions of what they do with their bodies, their sexual exploits, is tiresome.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 55.

    Another stupid libdem idea.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 54.

    Nothing in life is free, all is paid for by someone along the line, even freepost is not free, postage is just lumped onto selling price. Buy 2 get one free the prices are normally adjusted so that even a minimal profit is obtained on the "free" item, or are just loss leaders which lost profit is maintained via increases to other items.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 53.

    The problem with giving free bus travel to children (like in London) is that it acts as a massive disincentive to walk and cycle.

    The vast majority of journeys could easily be made on foot or by bike. I would say that it would be better to focus on providing safe routes for children to walk / cycle along, which adults can use too. Will improve children's fitness and reduce illness/absences.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 52.

    As Livingstone proved all this does if fill the buses with joy riding kids. Massages the 'bus usage' statistics but it makes things less pleasant for paying passengers. So its less likely that they will use the system.

    ALL travel damages the environment. We can debate if bus or car is worse (especially outside city centres). However creating extra journeys must be counter productive.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 51.

    If they come up with some ridiculous scheme like this they should narrow it to those born in the UK, i have seen so many foreigners with bus passes that its just stupid.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 50.

    It will not happen.

    As the article points out senior LibDems deny it.

    The only kids to qualify for free travel are kids like Danny Alexander's own kids.

    http://bit.ly/155VaTX

    Alexander says he will not accept the pay increase after the next election.

    I doubt he'll get the chance as he'll probably loose his seat as he's now thought of as a Tory in Scotland.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 49.

    I agree with the idea for getting kids to/from school. But round my way it won't be of any use. The companies that run the buses stopped using the routes that passed the local schools - they said they weren't cost efficient.
    Still, perhaps if the companies lowered the bus fares they may actually get more bums on seats.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 48.

    Oh yeah, another pledge in the making from the Liar King Clegg and his team of muppets.
    How two faced can you be when Clegg is reportedly against bus passes for the elderly and yet pensioners have actually paid in huge amounts of tax over their working lives.
    Of course the LibDems want free buses for their children as they have sold off their grannies to get a seat at the high table.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 47.

    The UK has to get off this everything can be FREE kick. Someone has to pay for it. It cannot be right that people are spending thousands of pounds on foreign holidays and cruises and at the same time getting free travel or free prescriptions. This culture has to be thought through and quickly.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    Presumably with al these kids on board extra buses will be needed paid for by the tax paying public.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 45.

    "Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was very keen to introduce free bus travel for all under-16s in England."

    Is this the same Nick Clegg who promised to get rid of tuition fees before the last election then agreed to them being trebled afterwards?

    Yes.. in that case I will anticipate that happening on the same odds chance of Justin Wellby becoming the next Pope.

    Your havin' a larf Nicholas!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 44.

    I disagree. Parents get enough hand outs already, they can pay for their bus fare.
    Pay instead, for the millions of us who use the buses to get to work, save on pollution etc and pay the damn taxes in the first place. THAT would be an incentive to the out of work too and fair to single people. Enough hand outs for parents and their offspring already.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 43.

    MP's should get bus passes and have to use them thus understnading more about everyday life and the constituents they mis-represent.

 

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