Cathy has welcomed the publication of Labour manifestos spelling out the range of pledges that the party is making for older people, people with disability, and carers.
“These constitute a firm commitment to safeguard and expand public services. We introduced national concessionary travel, and we will protect and expand it.
“We will introduce a National Care Service and put an end to the postcode lottery of provision.
“We know how much we owe to the 657,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, and we want to improve the support they get and to enhance the opportunities that are open to them.”
Cathy called for national concessionary travel in the first parliament. It became a manifesto pledge in 2003. Since then she has argued for extensions to the scheme.
As Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee, she chaired a major Disability Inquiry which made many recommendations for improvements.
She has been Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers since 2007, working closely with carers organisations to raise carers’ issues in the Scottish Parliament.
Labour’s manifesto for older people includes pledges to:
- Protect the concessionary bus travel scheme for all over 60s and extend to those with mobility challenges and those in remote areas
- End the postcode lottery of care with the creation of a National Care Service
- Establish Scotland first chronic pain centre
- Implement a new boiler scrappage scheme to help older people peoples’ bills
- Introduce a new right to see a cancer specialist and get results within two weeks, halving the current waiting times.
In the manifesto for people with disabilities, Labour pledges to:
- ensure that Scottish Labour’s focus on jobs and training is inclusive and supports opportunities for disabled people;
- support disabled people through the tough economic times;
- ensure a bold shift towards prevention in healthcare;
- deliver better care at the right time;
- improve mobility and access to the concessionary travel scheme for people with disabilities;
Support for carers includes
- support for carers centres;
- measures to prevent carers falling into fuel poverty;
- a guarantee to ensure that the Future Jobs Fund and modern apprenticeship schemes are fully accessible to carers, young carers and those who face the most challenges in accessing the labour market;
- support for young carers, including implementing the young carers strategy, embedding awareness of the needs of young carers in teacher training and in the policies of individual schools, and more flexibility for young carers getting the Educational Maintenance Allowance.
Posted in carers, disability, older people
Tagged apprenticeships, boiler, cancer, care, Carers Centres, concessionary, education, fuel, jobs, poverty, training, travel, young carers
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tackled the Transport Minister on the issue of support for Community Transport schemes such as Forth Valley’s Dial-a-Journey.
Opening the Scottish Parliament Questions, Cathy asked whether the Scottish Government would “extend the national concessionary travel scheme to include demand-responsive community transport schemes such as Dial-a-Journey in Forth Valley, which is used by older and disabled people who are eligible for the scheme but cannot use scheduled services”
In his reply, the Minister said that “the scheme has been the subject of a review since last July. The review is now complete and the resulting report and recommendations will be published this month.”
Cathy then asked “why are private bus operators trusted to operate concessionary transport schemes when community transport organisations are not? A number of disabled and older people throughout the country cannot access travel schemes. Will the minister please look again at the discrimination that those people face daily?”
The Minister, Stewart Stevenson. accepted that this was “a perfectly fair point about the need to provide access to affordable public transport for people with a range of disabilities that prevent their having ready access to standard service buses. We provide substantial support for a wide range of demand-responsive transport, which comes in many shapes and sizes. Some forms fall within the present scheme, whereas others are outside it. We have commissioned additional work on the demands of the transport sector to which Cathy Peattie refers. That work will be available to us later.”
Speaking later, Cathy said: “I have raised this issue several times, through questions, motions and in committee. It is important to maintain pressure on the Scottish Government. Let’s hope that the report takes a positive and constructive approach to support for such services. They really should be included in the national concessionary travel scheme.”
See also: https://cathypeattie.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/fare-deal-for-community-transport/
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for everyone who needs a companion in order to travel to be given the same concessions, whatever public transport they use.
Cathy said: “The Scottish Blind Persons’ Travel Card is an excellent scheme. It gives free travel on all bus, coach, rail and ferry services, not only to the blind person, but also, if they can only use public transport with assistance, to a companion.
“Unfortunately, other people who need to be accompanied can only take a companion when they travel by bus. I believe that they should also be able to apply for a travel card that permits them to travel with a companion on other public transport, not just buses.
“Journeys that are relatively quick and straightforward by train can become impossible if they depend on being accompanied by bus, with long journey times and poor connections.
“I don’t see any good argument against it, since the principle and the operation is already established – we would just be getting rid of an anomaly in the concessionary travel that is currently provided, and it would make a big difference to those who would benefit.”
See S3M-03815 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Extension of Concessionary Accompanied Travel
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is calling for the national concessionary travel scheme to be extended to include community transport schemes such as Forth Valley’s Dial-a-Journey.
“Scheduled bus services don’t always meet the needs of older and disabled people, and so they can find it difficult to take advantage of the current scheme,” said Cathy.
“More accessible and flexible services such as Dial-a-Journey address that need, but are not covered by the scheme. I think we should use the travel scheme to support voluntary organisations who are meeting the need for transport in areas without bus services and services for people who are unable to use public transport – collectively known as demand responsive transport.
“Over two million journeys are made each year in Scotland using demand responsive community transport schemes. Many of the people making those journeys have or are eligible for a free bus card but are unable to make use of it. Is it fair that although eligible for free travel, they are effectively excluded from the free bus scheme?
“They would not have to pay if they could use regular buses, but as it is, travel costs for accessible transport mean that they are unlikely to travel unless absolutely necessary.”
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the news that Scotland’s pensioners will continue to enjoy free bus travel.
SNP Ministers confirmed last month they were cutting the budget in real terms for concessionary fares by £10 million over the next three years in answer to a Parliamentary Question.
Cathy spoke on the issue in parliament, calling for the scheme to be protected and extended.
“This is an important victory for the campaign to stop Alex Salmond shoving our grannies off the bus,” she said.
“Alex Salmond had refused to guarantee that charges would not be introduced, or that the scheme would remain free at all times, and throughout Scotland. The SNP has been under pressure to come clean on their review of concessionary travel. After weeks of dodging the issue the Scottish Government has finally caved in.
“They are however still slashing £10 million from the budget in real terms, and we will be scrutinising the review for other hidden cuts.”
Labour Spokesperson Des McNulty said: “Alex Salmond has done more twists and turns on this issue than a bendy bus. But if this is his final u-turn then it is the first victory of Labour’s by-election campaign in Glasgow East.”