Saturday, 15 April 2017

Tories try to defend plan to cut free bus passes

It didn't take long for Derbyshire Tories to respond to the Labour pledge to fight to keep free bus passes for pensioners and the disabled.

They are particularly upset at the petition organised by Glossopdale Labour Party which you can access here: https://www.change.org/p/hm-government-retain-free-bus-passes-and-winter-fuel-allowance-for-pensioners and to yesterday's BelperStuff post Tories plan to cut bus passes and brand this as Labour scaremongering.

The Derbyshire Conservative group has responded through their leader Barry Lewis and he says:

"It is the Government that is responsible for these allowances - not the County Council. And the Conservative Government has spelt out its intention in its 2015 Manifesto - it will protect pensioner benefits including the free bus pass, TV licences and Winter Fuel payments. You can't get clearer than that."

Now there are several reasons why we don't believe Barry Lewis; most notably that the leader of the Tories in the Local Government Association (LGA Tory Lord Gary Porter who has been elevated to a Baronetcy quite recently) is very close to current government thinking so when he says that free bus passes should be cut and the money "saved" spent on care for the elderly it will be safe to assume that this is being discussed in Westminster.

We can also look at the LGA saying that free bus passes are under threat as long ago as 2014 in a Sky news video from youtube:



The LGA spokesman in the video speaking about the threat to fee bus passes is Tory Councillor David Simmonds CBE.

Here is that link again for those who receive this blog by email without embedded video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_HpYEdELRM


So who is scaremongering now Barry Lewis?


I also note that Barry has complete faith in Tory manifesto promises:

" ............... the Conservative Government has spelt out its intention in its 2015 Manifesto - it will protect pensioner benefits including the free bus pass, TV licences and Winter Fuel payments. You can't get clearer than that."


Barry Lewis with the Tory minister who promised
 railway electrification then did not deliver it.

Oh what a trusting soul you are Barry. How have other Tory 2015 manifesto promises been honoured:


  1. Promise not to cut child tax credits - forgotten when child tax credits cut.
  2. Protect child benefit despite freeze - the reality is that the value of child benefit will have fallen 24% by 2021.
  3. Promised to electrify railways (in East Midlands by 2019) - reality - many schemes cut back and we have no idea if the electrification between Derby and Sheffield will ever be started.
  4. Tax free childcare by 2015 - still waiting.
  5. Three days off with pay for volunteering - reality - shelved as too expensive.
  6. Social care cap at £72,000 for elderly and younger disabled to be introduced in 2016 - shelved until 2020 but to be reviewed. look out for this one in the 2020 Tory manifesto.
  7. No increase to NI for self employed - Hammond tried to increase this tax but a Tory rebellion has forced a rethink.
  8. Have to include the big one from 2010, no increase to VAT - reality was that VAT was increased within months.
  9. Protect the environment, most green government ever - the reality is more fracking and licenses for open cast coal mines.
  10. Added 18/4/17 - David Cameron/Teresa May - No general election until 2020
If you need any more help Barry I suggest that you check this out: Daily Mirror article - 21 broken Tory promises

As Barry says, "......You can't get clearer than that."



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