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Conservative Borough Leaders petition Prime Minister to protect London’s Freedom Pass funding

January 5, 2010

From the Conservative Group Leaders of London Boroughs

London’s Conservative Borough Leaders have posted a petition on the Number 10 website demanding that the Prime Minister step in to protect previously agreed funding arrangements for the Freedom Pass.

The Petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to intervene to secure the Freedom Pass by protecting the previously agreed level of concessionary travel funding for London, for 2010-11 from the proposals currently being consulted on by the Department for Transport that would cut £29 million of agreed funding for the boroughs, following the DfT’s re-opening of a 3-year funding deal in its third year.”

The Petition can be found at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/29m4freedompass/

The capital’s Conservative Borough Leaders are petitioning the Prime Minister to intervene following Transport Minister Sadiq Khan’s decision to tear up a previously agreed 3-year funding deal for London’s Freedom Pass – costing London nearly £29 million.

London’s Conservative Borough Leaders are committed to the Freedom Pass, the capital’s concessionary travel scheme providing free travel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on bus, tube, and most rail routes for London’s over 60 or disabled residents.  Funded mostly from council tax, the Freedom Pass also gets government funding, reflecting London’s contribution to the national concessionary bus travel scheme.  It is this component that Sadiq Khan’s decision has jeopardised.

Cllr. Merrick Cockell, Conservative Chairman of London Councils said: “The Department for Transport (DfT) agreed a 3-year funding deal in April 2008 only to tear it up in July 2009.  Having failed to fully fund the national bus concessionary fares scheme, the DfT is making London pay for its mistakes.”

He continued: “By rewriting a 3-year funding deal in its third year so as to take nearly £29 million from London to give to other parts of the country, Londoners are being hurt by the government’s own financial mismanagement.”

Cllr. Cockell concluded: “London’s Conservative Borough Leaders have lobbied Sadiq Khan and the Department of Transport and are now petitioning the Prime Minister to protect the Freedom Pass funding it had previously agreed.  That the government should agree and then tear up multi-year funding deals should give worry us all; how many other 3-year funding deals are now at risk?”

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