Nicola Sturgeon must come clean on SNP plans to raise the age for the free bus pass, Scottish Labour said today.
The Sunday Post reported that eligibility changes were in the works. This comes after draft budget documents showed a planned cut in the concessionary travel budget in 2017/18, and Transport Scotland avoided answering questions on the subject from the newspaper.
A Scottish Labour-led administration introduced the free bus pass for over 60s. SNP Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has so far only stated that the SNP does not intend to scrap the bus pass – but the SNP has made no commitment on maintaining eligibility at 60.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted in response to growing concerns, saying only “The SNP is not taking anyone’s bus pass away”. But she has repeatedly refused to answer the key question of whether she plans to delay people becoming eligible for it in future.
Scottish Labour’s Transport spokesperson Neil Bibby MSP said:
“This is a carefully crafted form of words from Nicola Sturgeon which is deliberately designed to deceive.
No wonder people are sick and tired of Nicola Sturgeon being disingenuous and dancing around words all the time. Why can’t Scotland’s First Minister just be straightforward with people on her intentions about the bus pass?
The SNP Government has cut the bus pass budget by £10m and plan to cut back the eligibility criteria for the bus pass after the election.
My response is a straightforward one – if the First Minister is not honest about her plans to cut back the bus pass now then the minority SNP Government will have absolutely no mandate to do so.”