The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council

Concessionary travel: the betrayal is complete

02.28.11 | 2 Comments

So the press release from West Lancashire Borough Council is out – funny how there’s still enough money for a press office. 

The usual glossing over is there:

Before coming to a decision, we gathered the views of groups who represent elderly and disabled people, and carried out a major survey involving around 1,300 people. We looked carefully at the results and noted that overall there was no support for continuing to provide the extra options if others services would have to be cut to pay for them.

As I’ve noted before, this idea that one thing can only be paid for if another one is not paid for may be ok as a consultation mechanism in some circumstances, but not ok when you’ve:

 a) not bothered to find out how much things might cost;

b) haven’t engaged responsibly in lobbying your own government for additional resources;

c) the whole idea of financial constraints is a political decision, rather than one of necessity, in the first place.

But no such logic was ever going to dissuade the Tories, along with their esteemed Older People’s Champion, from voting through their betrayal of older and disabled people at Full Council on Wednesday 23rd April.

The usual nonsense was in the Council papers, and there was a final slap in the face for those affected by the cuts in the claim that the Council had ‘discussions’ with the same travel operators they then declined to involve in their sham consultation. 

As FOI legislation and some tenacious pensioners has now proved beyond doubt, these ‘discussions’ amounted to asking for a worst case scenario and ball park figures so that the Council didn’t have to bother anymore.

What’s done now is done. The Tory Borough Council has washed its hands of pensioners’ rights, and it’s up to Labour and pensioners’ groups to see what can be salvaged. 

Fortunately, we’re on the case.


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