Bus Services: Concessions

Transport written question – answered on 12th November 2009.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his estimate is of the level of take-up of the Freedom Pass in Islington; and what estimate he has made of the cost of the pass to (i) Islington Borough Council, (ii) London-wide funding bodies and (iii) his Department in each of the last three years.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Minister of State (Department for Transport)

London freedom passes are administered by London Councils. The Department for Transport does not hold figures for the number of freedom passes issued by individual London boroughs. However, as part of a planned reissue, London Councils reported to the Department that as of April 2009, an estimated 1.188 million concessionary passes were in circulation in London.

(i) Islington borough council's budgeted spend on concessionary travel, as reported to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) was £5.2 million for 2006-07, £5.5 million for 2007-08 and £5.8 million for 2008-09.

(ii) The total reported concessionary travel spending of all London boroughs was £203 million in 2006-07; £222 million in 2007-08 and the budgeted spend for 2008-09 was £220 million. In addition, London Councils reported in the minutes of their Transport and Environment Committee meeting of 11 December that the additional costs of the national bus concession were forecast to be £5.1 million in 2008-09.

Before April 2008, funding for the mandatory bus concession was provided exclusively through the formula grant system administered by CLG. Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant, that is, recipient local authorities may use it on any service they wish, providing statutory duties are met. This freedom means that CLG are not able to calculate how much grant has been provided for any particular service (such as concessionary travel).

(iii) In 2008-09, the Department for Transport provided an extra £212 million to fund the extension of the concessionary travel scheme to cover England-wide travel, of which, £55.4 million was provided to London Councils. London Councils reported in the minutes of their Transport and Environment Committee meeting of 11 December that the additional costs of the national bus concession were forecast to be £5.1 million in 2008-09.

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