...on the Politics Show of Sunday 24 February 2007
On buses passes
Free bus travel for the over 60's is great if the government was to fund it properly. In Hampshire we have had our services cut and the fares go up. As a result you cannot get a bus after 8.00pm during the week and at weekends. I think that the old half fares system should be reinstated so that the bus companies can afford to reinstate the axed services.
As a fare-paying bus passenger living in a rural area and paying a minimum of £3.50 per trip, I am frequently irked by often having to stand, laden down with shopping, because the buses are full of over-60s travelling for free. I know of several people in my village who drive to the bus stop in their expensive cars (I can't afford a car) in order to take advantage of this free service. I don't object to them having free travel, but surely the people who pay the going rate and keep the bus companies in business, should be given priority.
Your programme today highlights the over 60's who are eligible for a free bus pass. This isn't the real problem as buses are usually empty anyway and they still have to run. What is a problem is the list of over 60s you displayed on the bus sign are eligible for a £200 winter fuel payment when in fact many of them are very well off.
Mike Hayward, Havant Hants
This is absolutely absurd. How many people over 60 would you think did Kendo, or went parasailig or dashing off to the Caribbean? Most elderly people I know really appreciate their bus pass which enables them to make (mostly) very short journeys, perhaps to the next town, to see their grandchildren. My own mother and father I remember, were in a council flat, both ill and on benefits and really enjoyed a Sunday afternoon trip to the countryside on (rare) summer afternoons or weekly to see friends at a local club. We do not do enough to care for our elderly and the bus pass enables them to sustain activity.
Eco -Town is a contradiction in terms. Caroline Flint is being inexact when she states that eco-town planning will be decided at local level. The developers are invariably supported by planning inspectors who regularly overturn decisions made by local members who understand their local communities. The inspectorate is the problem and be assured, the developers will get their own way because the Government is in hock to them.
Pamela Booker, England
Why no questioning of the premise "we all agree we need more houses"?
No we don't. We need fewer people/households.
How can you have a housing policy without a population policy?
Oh dear, Ms Flint!!! Do try to address your electorate in the Queen's English, rather than in Labour jargon ....may I suggest 'increase' instead of 'ratchet up', 'Labour quangos' instead of 'national organisations' and 'lots of individuals with different ideas' instead of 'community'? I honestly believe that the Labour Party sees people as monochrome blocks of living matter/ collective statistics rather than human beings who don't necessarily want to live in imposed colonies, eco-friendly or not! Actually I do wonder how much knowledge Caroline Flint has about the following: civil engineering/ construction/ rural matters ....real life?
Monica Waters, England
On John Hutton interview
Another "fact finding" mission to the USA? Just a freebie holiday for John Hutton.
Richard Edwards, England
The Politics Show was on Sunday 24 February 2008 at 12.00 GMT on BBC One.
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