Free fares for children in England unfounded

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The Daily Telegraph reported under-16s would be offered free bus travel under plans being drawn up by Nick Clegg to help families. Senior sources within the LibDems reportedly described the Deputy Prime Minister as being “very keen” on the proposal, which he believed could become a defining policy for the Coalition. However, the proposal has been revealed to be unfounded.

The so-called policy was to be included as part of a family-friendly package of measures from the Coalition government.

Under-16s have been entitled to free bus travel in London since 2005, with those under 11 also able to travel without charge on the Underground. According to the article Mr Clegg wanted the scheme to be extended nationally in place of children paying half fares. It was reported the passes would not be means-tested.

However, Transport Minister Norman Baker told BBC News: “We’re certainly interested as a government in trying to help young people who are facing significant challenges with their transport costs, particularly on buses, and that’s certainly something which Nick [Clegg] is interested in. We’ve had no discussions at all about the idea of giving free travel to under- 16s. That’s simply not true.”

A spokesman for CPT told CBW: “CPT has been assured by the Department for Transport that the article appearing in Saturday’s (July 20) Daily Telegraph (‘Children go free on buses’) was “without foundation” and “simply wrong”. We have since passed this information on to our members.”