91% Of Pensioners Against Means-Testing Smartpass Scheme

The Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament has warned that if the Stormont Executive chooses to cut or means-test the bus pass, it is failing to recognise its true value.

The warning forms part of a draft Pensioners Parliament Election Manifesto, expected to be agreed over the coming days by older people from across the province at this year's Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.

The call has been supported by the findings of a survey conducted by the Parliament, which found that nine out of 10 (91%) older people are against means‑testing the Smartpass scheme in Northern Ireland.
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Michael Monaghan, Chair of Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, said: "It seems only right that protecting the bus pass will be the first demand to appear in our manifesto, because it's undoubtedly one of the most cherished benefits received by older people in Northern Ireland.

"Free travel allows the older population to have a more active and healthy lifestyle, but ensures it isn't a financial burden. It also means older people are able to spend their money in more places, which clearly is of benefit to the local economy.

"Finally, the Smartpass scheme provides stability for the public transport system; without it, bus and rail services for everyone would suffer."


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