From the minister

I hope that makes it clear.

As Humza says, the opposition, many of whom were against universal benefits, and wanted to do away with, for example, universal free prescriptions, are lying, haven’t bothered to find out the facts, or have and are too stupid to understand them. One of these!

No one is taking your card away. There will be a consultation about how to make it sustainable over a period. The scheme is likely to be extended in some ways to help people who need it.

The scheme, brought in by the Labour/Liberal government is admirable. It really is a generous project covering the whole of Scotland.

It encourages less-well-off older and disabled people to make journeys that would be beyond their means. It encourages them out of the house, in to the town, or to another town, to meet friends and do their own shopping. In short, it is good for their morale, health and wellbeing. On colder days it is a way of keeping warm and saving on the household heating bill. (Yes, I’ve known people who did that… HAD to do that!)

In the case of richer people, who can afford the bus fare, it encourages them to leave the car behind and use public transport, reducing congestion on the roads, pollution and overflowing parking facilities in town. Of course, that doesn’t work for everyone. You still get Lady Whatsit and her chauffeur driven Bentley taking up the road, but for most people it is an incentive to leave the car behind. That has to be a good thing.

It reduces wear and tear on the already damaged roads. And it almost undoubtedly reduces the number of accidents, a good thing on its own, but with the additional benefit of reducing pressure on the emergency services.

It ensures that buses run throughout the day, providing a better service for those who need them. Buses are no longer a real public service. They are for profit. If there is no money to be made on a route during the day, the bus company will reduce the service to the absolutely minimum required to retain the franchise for that route, making life more difficult for fare paying passengers outside of peak travel times, for getting to hospital appointments, jobcentre interviews, and shopping.

In a perfect world we would all have free, or at least reasonably priced clean, efficient and reliable public transport. We don’t live in a perfect world.

Let’s wait for the consultations before we get bent out of shape. If we have something to say, let’s contribute to these consultations and try to get the best deal for the public with limited money that can be made available.


  1. Sadly -I’m 68 y’know -I have one of these passes. Would like the Scottish Government to extend them to trains too.

    Just a manifesto commitment for the future, perhaps? Y’know how some pensioners appear to dislike the whole idea of independence? Give them a freebee and you never know what might happen to their vote. Many pensioners count the pennies before they think about the pounds, at least that is how it seems to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s strange that the “free” stuff goes down really badly with some pensioners.

      I’ve heard some complain about the bus passes. “I don’t need one”. Of course, the answer is…”don’t have one!”.

      But who knows. The resistance was stiff in the older age group. Not helped by the lies that people told about folks’ pensions stopping the next day, which I know some people were told. I know the UK was being unpleasant but even they wouldn’t have allowed people to have pensions they had paid for if they lived in Spain, but not if they lived in Scotland. But people worried. Even some intelligent older people were scared by it.

      It was a great pity for the younger people whose lives will now be shaped in a right-wing, uncaring, unlovely society. Funnily it was the same age group that voted strongly for UK independence. But they won’t miss the opportunities that the EU brings students and young people.

      I seem to remember that at one time Fife council paid for pensioners who wished to use the train, within Fife (but including both Edinburgh and Dundee destinations. It was never the government. Unfortunately train fares are so ridiculously high in the Uk that no government would consider giving free passes.

      But it would be a great idea.


    1. Nothing new there then.

      I see the doyen of children’s fiction, Enid Blyme, has been spreading her version of what Alex Salmond said. She must have waved a wand over it and said some magical words. jeeez, I don’t like her, but she can tell a good kiddies story, huh?


      1. In the comments there is a poster who described Trump’s followers as “Trumpanzees”. It’s not often I “Laugh Out Loud” on the internet these days…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Those who object to universal benefits usually subscribe to the Tory purile and infantile economic ideas.
    The Tories like to put about the idea that pensioners are a drain on society and that they have had good times at the expense of younger people (the generation that they have made poorer through their incompetent management of our economy).
    Many pensioners still pay tax and some of those who use bus passes spend money in shops that they otherwise wouldn’t.
    I hope that the proposed universal basic income is a success as it will finally put paid to the short term narrow minded simplicity of the Tories and their supporters.
    Interesting that the EU are thinking along similar lines for all European citizens (universal basic income that is,not Tory stupidity).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a point that I hadn’t thought of, Bringiton.

      Older folk that otherwise wouldn’t go out, do go out, and while they are out they buy stuff in shops.

      It’s true that over the last few years pensioners have done better than the working public. And credit to the Tories/Liberals for doing that.

      Blair’s government refused to restore the link between earnings and pensions that had existed before Thatcher. Pensioners were treated like benefit claimants by her, Major, Blair and Brown. They got the bare minimum, even after the incompetent moron Brown wrecked the company pension schemes.

      British pensioners are seriously worse off than most of their continental counterparts, even after the recent changes.

      Trouble is that pensions are being paid out of current taxation instead of say like the Norwegians, a fund from personal contributions. Not that we don’t make contributions of course. Just that they spend them on wars, weapons and grandiose schemes for royals and those and such as those.

      I’m really interested in universal payments. Looking at the countries that are doing trials, Netherlands, Canada, Finland, and now Scotland, I’m hopeful that it will work.

      Those who think that many of these benefits for older people are wasted on the super rich have to remember that there is a vast cost in means testing and that people don’t have to apply for a bus pass or a winter fuel payment. I remember Karen Lindsay getting bent out of shape about the fact that her husband, a rich man, was entitled to £200 at Christmas. Why? You have to apply for WFA.

      And there is no reason why, if you don’t need free prescriptions, you can’t take the money that you might have spent on your meds to the nearest foodbank or other charity.

      I don’t think the Brits will ever do a universal payment. Imagine the headlines in teh Daily Diana.


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