Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 18:49 UK

Free London travel for veterans

Medals
The free travel scheme will help about 2,600 people in London

Injured war veterans are to get free travel on London's transport network, it has been announced.

Mayor Boris Johnson made the announcement to mark the annual Veterans' Day. The scheme comes into effect on 2 November.

The mayor said it would benefit the estimated 2,600 war veterans, war widows and widowers aged under 60 living in London.

A free Veterans' Day event took place in Trafalgar Square in central London.

Defence Secretary Des Browne and Mr Johnson attended.

Under the new scheme, veterans and widows who are not eligible for a freedom pass are expected to save an average of 200 each a year.

The scheme was expected to cost Transport for London (TfL) up to 900,000 in total, the mayor's spokeswoman said.

The loss would be taken on by TfL and taxpayers would not be required to pay extra for the scheme, she added.

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Veterans are honoured by Mayor

"War veterans can often have a hard time when they return, sometimes facing issues such as serious injury, mental illness and unemployment," Mr Johnson said.

"Those that have lost spouses or parents have also suffered for the service they have given. Yet in both cases they are not entitled to existing travel concessions.

"I want to change that, and am pleased that, from November, London will be doing its bit in recognising the unflinching contribution that these men and women of the forces have made, by offering free travel throughout the capital for injured veterans."

The day's events at Trafalgar Square include a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Defence, with badges being presented to veterans by senior defence representatives including Mr Browne.

There will also be an exhibition called Helmand: The Soldier's Story, which compares the lives of soldiers now and in the Afghan war period of 1879.

Veterans' Day event at Trafalgar Square starts at 1100 BST.


SEE ALSO
Day of thanks for UK's veterans
26 Jun 08 |  Lancashire

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