I’m writing to invite all you readers, old and young, to request copies of the ‘Love the Bus Pass’ petition, and help the campaign reach 100,000 pen-on-paper signatures by the end of August (currently we’re on 44,950). They’ll be delivered to Downing Street on 10th September, when we also lobby our respective MP’s. Star readers are welcome to join us!
Supported by the National Pensioners Convention the petition is the first major step on the way for this non-partisan campaign, which aims to get all major parties contesting the General Election to pledge to retain the bus pass as a free, universal entitlement.
Here’s the problem - whilst all major parties pledged before 2010 General Election to keep the pass, high ranking Coalition politicians soon started to call for ‘reform’: in 2011, new MP Brandon Lewis stated in Conservative Home that the scheme had never been affordable, albeit his party hadn’t wished to publicise this before the election, for fear of alarming voters.
Nick Clegg then called for a ban of millionaires joyriding on buses, which would save next to nothing, but is a neat way of destroying universal entitlement and bringing in means testing..
In mid 2012, the press reported that David Cameron, if returned in 2015, would legislate to abolish the pass in its present form: again this January, he refused to commit to retaining it.
The huge community, family, economic, health and wellbeing benefits of the pass are at risk: politicians need to understand that they attack the bus pass at their electoral peril! Readers can request petition forms and information on 01922 641084, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or at: 46 Winn House, Burrowes Street, Walsall, WS2 8NW.
Love the Bus Pass Campaign, West Midlands