Clegg on spot over OAP bus passes in South Yorkshire

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NICK Clegg has been challenged about his views on free bus travel for the elderly, after a senior Lib Dem claimed the Deputy Prime Minister favoured means-testing OAPs’ passes.

In a letter to Penistone and Stocksbridge Labour MP Angela Smith, Lib Dem transport minister Norman Baker said it was ‘Nick Clegg’s personal view that people who can afford to pay should’.

The Government has no public plans to restrict access to free bus passes at present.

Ms Smith said: “Nick Clegg clearly believes free bus travel for pensioners needs to be means-tested – a position I believe is wrong.

“Sheffield MPs have worked hard in the past to establish the principle of free bus travel for the elderly, and Sheffielders deserve to know whether or not Mr Clegg is prepared to defend the principle in future if necessary.

“The Deputy Prime Minister needs to make it clear whether or not he intends to accept current government thinking and drop his half-baked suggestion that would see so many pensioners lose out.”

A spokesman for Nick Clegg replied: “Nick has talked in the past about future policies that might be developed by Liberal Democrats as we continue to have to make savings after Labour nearly bankrupted the country.

“I find it extraordinary that Labour, who won’t come clean with the public about their own plans for cuts, are devoting so much time and energy vowing to protect bus passes for millionaires.

“Does Angela Smith think it’s unacceptable to have a debate about whether multi-millionaires like Paul McCartney and Peter Stringfellow should continue to qualify for free bus travel?”