Thursday, 31 January 2013

Free Bus Travel Deal Welcomed

SNP MSP Marco Biagi is today welcoming the news that a deal has been sealed between the Scottish Government and bus operators that will allow the continuation of secured free bus travel for over 60’s and people with disabilities.

Scottish Government negotiations have concluded and the terms agreed include an immediate £10 million cash injection through the Bus Service Operators Grant to provide transitional support for bus operators in the current difficult financial environment.

Marco Biagi, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central, said:

“Against a tough economic backdrop of Westminster cuts this deal, which secures the future of the national concessionary bus travel scheme, is great news.

“Securing the future of the national scheme, to help the over 60s and those with disabilities, was a key priority for the SNP. In contrast, Labour has said ‘nothing is off the table’ from their cuts commission which threatens these valuable policies.

“Labour and Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission – hailed by the Tory Party in Wales – have threatened to axe this benefit which is so valued by Scotland’s older people, disabled and veteran communities.

“Our track record in funding bus travel speaks for itself. We are providing £250 million annually to support a range of schemes and fully intend to allocate this year's budget, as agreed by the Scottish Parliament and following consultation with the bus sector, in full.

“This decisive action in to ensure operators are supported fairly in a tough economic climate helps people get around and helps businesses deliver a service we can be proud of. The situation is challenging, but we are confident this new deal will provide enough respite and some much-needed stability.”
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