Over-60s bus pass a thing of the past

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PIC­TURE this. My soon-to-be 60-year-old mother is get­ting ready for a trip to the city cen­tre, to do some shop­ping. For the last few months she’s been look­ing for­ward to get­ting her over-60s bus pass.

Com­ing from a fam­ily with very lit­tle, a bus fare is an ex­pense that falls very far down the list of es­sen­tials.

My mother is a full-time carer for her old­est daugh­ter, an autis­tic 31-year-old.

My sis­ter can­not leave the house alone, and yet doesn’t qual­ify for the carer’s pass be­cause she is phys­i­cally ca­pa­ble of walk­ing out of the house and step­ping on to a bus.

She has very lit­tle so­cial con­tact at present due to a se­vere lack of funding, thanks to the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment we cur­rently suf­fer.

Adding ex­tra money for one of us to take her some­where is an added is­sue which re­stricts our move­ment.

She can’t walk far, so trans­port is es­sen­tial. I live at home and work a zero-hour con­tract which is er­ratic at best.

So my mother is plan­ning all of the won­der­ful things she can do once she gets her bus pass. Be­ing the cau­tious per­son she is, she asks me to check on­line and make sure that the over60s bus pass still ex­ists.

Know­ing this gov­ern­ment, things are be­ing snatched away and dragged into the dark while ev­ery­one is look­ing the other way, and the poor, el­derly and dis­abled are al­ways at the front of the line.

Imag­ine my dis­may, when I checked the gov­ern­ment web­site for in­for­ma­tion, and found that she would not be get­ting her pass un­til 2023. And my anger when learn­ing that ev­ery­one in Scot­land, Wales, North­ern Ire­land and LON­DON would still be get­ting theirs.

Now, I don’t be­grudge any­one their over-60s pass. But how fair is it to pe­nalise the rest of Eng­land?

This may sound like a small is­sue to a lot of peo­ple. I know there have been many de­bates about whether over-60s should even get a free pass.

But from the in­side of our lit­tle fam­ily, watch­ing my mother de­flate when I broke the news, this is a mas­sive is­sue. One that spans the whole of Eng­land. And one that has been strangely ab­sent from the news.

An­other vic­tim of a gov­ern­ment telling us all to live within their means, while claim­ing mil­lions in ex­penses on top of their salaries.

My mother’s heart broke a lit­tle that day. A lit­tle of the hope I see in her eyes dimmed. How much fur­ther do we have to go? I’d sug­gest get­ting the bus, but that isn’t re­ally an op­tion now. DANIELLE ALLEN


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