24/09/2015

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.
News Image
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."

(CD/JP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 May 2013
Two-Year Initiative To Tackle Fear Of Crime
A £60,000 initiative to tackle the fear of crime in Northern Ireland has been announced by the Department of Justice. The two-year project is to engage with older people to develop new ideas and solutions to address the fear of crime.
24 April 2007
Message in a Bottle scheme launched to help elderly
Plans to distribute 80,000 bottles to older people to record basic but important personal and medical details to assist the emergency services, have been unveiled today by Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson MP.
26 March 2015
Higher Rates Of Heart Disease Among Older People In NI
Older people living in Northern Ireland are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease compared to those in the Republic of Ireland (RoI). They are also far more likely to have a limiting long-term illness and disability, according to a study funded by Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI).
15 November 2013
Energy And Food Top Concerns For Elderly
The price of energy and food is among the top concerns of pensioners in Northern Ireland, according to a new report. Worries about accessing health and social care have also risen significantly over the last year. The report summarises the findings of the 2013 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.
21 February 2014
Call For The Executive To Help Older People Keep Warm
The Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament is calling on the Executive to provide urgent help to older people struggling to keep warm by using extra funds promised by the Treasury in December. Age Sector Platform is making the appeal as it launches the fourth year of the Parliament today in Belfast.