Threat to the Bus Pass and Universal Benefits

Back to all Motions

2014 National Retired Members Conference
1 January 2014

Conference is very concerned that the concessionary bus pass for pensioners is being attacked and no political party has stated that it will be retained after the 2015 election.

Withdrawing the bus pass from pensioners will need another Act of Parliament (original Transport Act 2008) but that won’t stop this Government or any other one from passing an Act to withdraw it after the 2015 General Election.

One of the main benefits of the bus pass is social inclusion which contributes to keeping well physically and mentally by allowing pensioners to travel in England without worrying about the cost. Contacts with families and friends, engaging with community related activities and reducing the likelihood of isolation contributes to supporting the Department of Health’s goals of ‘social inclusion’ and ‘better health through exercise and stimulation’.

The use of buses by older people has ensured, in some cases, that routes are retained for the fare paying public, particularly in rural areas. Bus services are run as commercial ventures and grants and subsidies to bus companies are crucial to their profits. Without them, more services will be cancelled. This would have a particularly devastating impact on the elderly, leading to greater isolation and would be harmful to the local economy.

Therefore, this UNISON National Retired Members Conference instructs the National Retired Members Committee and calls on the National Executive Council to:

1.campaign urgently to make our concerns known to the Government through LabourLink, national and regional branches of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the STUC, local Trades Councils, by lobbying MPs, and by supporting the National Pensioners Convention and the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum in their campaigns to fight for the retention of the bus pass for all eligible older people and the retention of all universal benefits.

2. campaign to extend the concession to include cross border travel in the UK and to include ferry and train travel concessions;

3. report regularly on progress to National Retired Members’ Committee meetings and publicise on all appropriate communication channels, including the national UNISON website, U Magazine, In-Focus and E-Focus. The information must also be circulated to Regions and Branches.

4. report back to the 2015 National Retired Members Conference on action taken and actual achievements.