Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Boris Johnson scraps cheap fares for London's poor

Boris Johnson has decided not to continue funding half-price bus and tram fares for people on income support, it was revealed today.

In response to a written question from Assembly Member Darren Johnson,  Boris wrote that:

'Many Londoners face growing economic difficulties at the moment but I believe this can best be addressed by keeping the overall level of bus fares as low as possible.'

The Mayor argued that the current scheme was inefficient as only 20% of people on income support claim for the discount. 

But rather than attempt to increase the take-up he has instead decided to scrap the scheme altogether. This means by the mayor's own figures, that around 75,000 of the poorest Londoners will now have to pay double for their bus and tram fares.

Last month Boris wrote in response to a question by Dave Hill that officials from Transport for London were considering 'alternative ways of providing this support.' 

However, today he made it clear that there would be no alternative funding for the original scheme. He instead suggested that 'more suitable' forms of concessions may be found by TfL in the future. 

Nevertheless the emphasis on overall fare levels suggests that any future discount, if it comes, will not amount to the half-price fares that are currently available.

So whatever alternative support may or may not be given in the future, it is now clear that the scheme to give half price fares for people on income support will be coming to an end this year. 

22 comments:

Toneytony said...

In the words of Johny Rotten: Do you ever feel like you've been cheated?

The Tory Troll said...

Quite simply yes. The original story was slipped out on a bank holiday Sunday afternoon and has been spun as being about Ken and Venezuela. In reality it was about Boris giving up on the poorest people in the capital.

When he gave that statement to Dave Hill it is quite clear now that it was an attempt to deflect attention from this terrible decision. I thought then that he might find alternative funds but it is clear that is not the case now.

This is the only thing that Boris has done that has made me genuinely angry.

Anonymous said...

Do you reckon he knows about this yet?

The Tory Troll said...

He knows. He may have been on a yacht when the original decision was made, but he's had long enough to find out about it now.

pastyface said...

well well well - same old tories....

Anonymous said...

Why should people on the dole get reduced fares anyway? Shouldn't they be down the job centre or, i don't know -WORKING!

The Tory Troll said...

'Income support' isn't the dole you muppet. It's to help people on the lowest wages. The clue is in the first word.

pastyface said...

anonymous

how are they supposed to get to these job interviews?

gg said...

Dazza asking all the right questions again. Good man.

BenSix said...

http://www.boriswatch.co.uk/2008/06/24/boris-is-investigated/

barry_rochford said...

This is pure vindictiveness to the poorest in London. Additional income would come in from about 100,000 people who were eligible and had registered - far more than the 20% he claimed.
First we were told that 'he would honour the committment to the those on low income'. He did. For four weeks.
The Nasty Party are back!!

Anonymous said...

Load of meaningless words spouting from Boris' mouth.

"...this can best be addressed by keeping the overall level of bus fares as low as possible"? What does "best" mean here? "Best" for whom?

Why bring up the Venezuela scheme when there was no mention of that in the question? Attempt to deflect the question perhaps?

"Only" 20% on income support claiming the concession? Why is that considered inefficient? Perhaps the other 80% don't have need of it? And if it's only 20% then presumably it's only costing half as much as if 40% claimed it? Sounds like it's a highly efficient to me... money going to those who can make use of it!

"...better ways of benefiting Venezuelans"... so perhaps he could elaborate us on his plans to benefit the Venezuelans then?

You know, I wouldn't mind so much if Boris was just a puppet, repeating what his masters (sorry, "team") told him to say. But it's just meaningless, drivel.

The Tory Troll said...

It's certainly an interesting concept that he believes doubling the price of a ticket is the best way of helping poor people pay for one.

The only conclusion I can draw from this is that he is either:

a) lying, or
b) thick

To blatantly stitch up the poorest people in society is one thing. To do it while pretending that your'e helping them is another, and to do it while spewing out the kind of doublespeak swill used here is quite another.

Anonymous said...

So, wealthy Mayor makes London's poorest poorer still? Nice...

Mark Dodds said...

Why any surprise?

It's exactly to be expected from a Tory.

Rock on Boris.

angelneptunestar said...

I don't agree that he should try to increase the takeup, because if people aren't applying, maybe they don't need it. I do however think he should allow the people already claiming to carry on doing that. If people apply for things, they usually really need the money. It is ridiculous to say this is being done out of malice, that is just stupid. He probably thinks it is better to keep fares down overall, thus benefitting far more people.

pastyface said...

this has so much more to do with cutting ties with those dastdardly communists than travelling on the buses cheaply.

I'm sure Dean Godson and his friends at Policy Exchange are big fans of Chavez and don't in any way consider him to be part of the axis of evil etc etc.

They had no intention of funding fares for those on income support why would they they're tories.

The poor are not exactly at the top of their list of priorities

A casual observer said...

The lack of coverage about this came as no shock to me. It is a shame the BBC couldn't be bothered to give it more than a few passing lines though.

Still, to be fair on Boris, he is way too busy drawing picures of giant underground fans.

Who needs low price fares when you've got big fans to get your mind of it?

not going to use my usual name said...

"I don't agree that he should try to increase the takeup, because if people aren't applying, maybe they don't need it."

Is that how things work in your world?

You really are fucking desperate.

angelneptunestar said...

"not going to use your usual name" whatever you are implying about my world, you are absolutely wrong.

However, that is not really the issue, is it? The issue is concern for people on income support in this country and if you think anyone in the Conservative Party is not concerned about that, and if you think I am not concerned about that, or affected when people suffer, you are totally one hundred per cent wrong.

emilia said...

I realised that this police of discount was not advertised widely, THAT IS WHY PEOPLE DID NOT APPLY. London cannot give low bus fare to the poor, BUT VENEZUELA can! WHAT A SHAME!

THANK YOU MR BORIS JOHNSON!

emilia said...

THANK YOU MR BORIS JOHNSON. VENEZUELA CAN HELP LONDON, BUT LONDON CANNOT HELP THE POOR.
FURTHERMORE, I NOTICED THAT THIS DISCOUNT FOR PEOPLE ON BENEFIT WAS NOT ADVERTISED WIDELY, THAT IS WHY FEW PEOPLE APPLIED.

IF THE GOVERNMENT WILL ADVERTISE THE DISCOUNT IN A PROPER WAY I GUARANTEE THAT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WILL APPLY. BUT THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT LOOSE MONEY, CAN IT?

THE SAME FOR THE NEW LHA Housing Allowance from April 2008. THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT PUT AN ADVERT ON THE TV. WHY? BECAUSE AGAIN IT WILL LOOSE LOTS OF MONEY, ISNT IT?