02/02/09 MP and pensioners join forces to demand a fair deal on
Rosie Cooper and local pensioners took to the streets in their campaign demanding a fair deal on free public transport for pensioners from West Lancashire District Council.
On Saturday 31st January to street stalls were held – one in Ormskirk and one in Skelmersdale – where residents could support the campaign by adding their name to a petition.
Local pensioner group members, West Lancashire Pensioners Forum and Skelmersdale Senior Citizens Association are backing the MPs campaign.
Earlier in the week Rosie Cooper raised the issue of residents being forced to choose between bus and rail passes in Parliament with transport ministers. In the debate Rosie claimed forcing pensioners to make this choice was unfair.
“West Lancashire District Council has made a profit on the funding from central government for the national concessionary travel scheme. I am demanding that they spend this extra money to offer free rail travel as well."
“Residents are fuming about this issue as they have friends who live in nearby local authority areas who can get both the bus and rail cards and are wondering why in West Lancs they are being treated like second class citizens."
“If they’ve got any heart they’ll stop this charade and give people what is rightly theirs.”
Jim Burgess, Chair of West Lancashire Pensioners Forum said:
“We are delighted to be working with our local MP, Rosie, to get a better deal for West Lancashire pensioners on free travel.”
“We want the same deal as our neighbours in Wigan and Southport when it comes to free rail travel. This district council should be ashamed of their behaviour. They should listen to the calls from the MP and local pensioners for free rail travel.”
West Lancashire District Council refuse to acknowledge there is a surplus. The additional monies have been diverted to subsidise projects like taxi tokens that they have always funded themselves in the past.
West Lancashire District Council is in the process of negotiating a pooling arrangement through Lancashire County Council. Even in this case, it is estimated that the district council would still have a substantial surplus.