London Councils have issued a seemingly innocuous consultation paper on the London Local Authorities (Concessionary Fares) Bill in advance of a Tory private member’s bill going before parliament later in the year. The paper is a direct attack on the free travel arrangements, the Freedom Pass, for 1.2 million older citizens of London.
The consultation paper intends transferring “reserve powers” from the Mayor of London to a non-accountable so-called independent arbitrator. It would also remove overground trains from being covered by the Freedom Pass. The bill would allow any individual borough to opt out of the scheme, weakening the London-wide Freedom Pass principles.
This is the third time since 2007 that the Tories have attempted to undermine the Freedom Pass. They have been defeated on the previous two occasions and pensioner organisations across London are mobilising to do it for a third time.