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Local MSP Christina McKelvie welcomes extension of concessionary travel scheme

Pensioners and companions of disabled children are set to benefit from the National Concessionary Travel Scheme, as the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson announced extensions to the scheme.

Following a consultation on the scheme, closing in November 2007 with nearly 3000 responses, the scheme is set to benefit over 3000 families and children with the announcement of the bus pass extension to companions of disabled children.

Additionally, Mr Matheson announced that the age of eligibility will not change for the National Concessionary Travel Scheme and that the options to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices will continue to be considered.

Commenting, Mr Matheson said:

“The bus pass is a benefit that many people enjoy and use as part of their daily lives and I’m delighted that this government will expand the scheme to include companions of eligible disabled children aged under five.

“The concessionary travel scheme enables independence, accessibility and social inclusivity.

We have listened closely to the many respondents who feel that the free bus pass should remain available to all from the age of 60 and concluded that we should not change the age of eligibility.

We will also continue to explore options to provide free bus travel for Modern Apprentices, while keeping the scheme under review and maintaining a balanced budget.”

The news was heralded by local SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie.

Christina McKelvie MSP said:

“This continued £250m investment from the Scottish Government will provide real, tangible help to my constituents.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the Scottish Government has announced that in addition to maintaining bus pass eligibility from the age of 60, we are extending it to include the companions of eligible disabled children under five.

“This could be set to benefit over 3000 families and children, giving direct support to those who may need it most.

“I know first-hand the important role the free bus pass plays within the lives of my constituents, promoting social activity and inclusion.

“I am delighted that we will continue to ensure the sustainability of National Concessionary Travel Scheme, providing support and transport services to all those eligible throughout our community.