Save the Freedom Pass for London pensioners

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In return for a further bail-out of Transport for London, the government is trying to force the Mayor and Tfl, among other things, to agree to withdraw travel concessions (Freedom Pass) from London's pensioners.   That would be devastating for older people who have no car, especially those who live alone.  For them, the Freedom Pass is an absolutely vital lifeline; losing it would mean even more isolation than we have already suffered during Lockdown.

Being unable to travel into town to meet friends or visit attractions, will have a terrible effect on our mental health - loneliness amongst the elderly is already a major problem, and this would increase hugely, as would the suicide rate - without social contact, life is not worth living!

In fact, there is no point in living in the metropolis, if we cannot afford to travel and benefit from its many "free" attractions - its many historic buildings, museums and galleries, parks, concerts in the City churches, etc.,, and even just scenic walks along the Thames!   I would move out of London, as would most of my friends, and we are surely not the only ones.  London stands to lose much of the senior "spend" in its shops and cafes.   

The voluntary sector would grind to a halt, as charity shops rely so much on retired people, and the Friends of City Churches would lose most of their Church Watchers (mostly retired) who keep these wonderful buildings open for visitors and tourists to enjoy. 

If the govt. applies the Pension Credit limit, as they have for the TV licence, that would exclude almost all of us, as the eligibility threshold has not kept pace with inflation (the savings limit is the same as 10 years ago!). It means that the thrifty who have tried to save a little for their retirement and are just managing to scrape by, will suffer the most - after contributing to taxation all their lives!

All we are asking is fairness.   Travel is not a luxury but a necessity.  Other countries subsidise their public transport systems far more generously, with less reliance on fares, so are less affected by the Pandemic.  We ask the government not to punish the elderly for something which is not our fault.