Published: January 24, 2011
Town MP says free bus passes 'should be cut back to help young'

People aged over 65 should have their free bus passes scaled back so that the money saved could allow more young people to get to college, Burnham-On-Sea's MP has said this week.

Tessa Munt made the comments after last week's decision by the government to scrap Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA), which some parents say now means they can no longer afford to send their children to college.

EMAs were means-tested benefits that were worth a maximum of £30 per week to help support 16 and 17-year-olds from poorer backgrounds get to college. The government argued the scheme was "poorly targeted" and cost too much.

Tessa Munt told the BBC that although student welfare grants to colleges are set to triple, this is nowhere near enough.

She wants a scheme introduced that would see free bus passes for the over 65s trimmed down so that unlimited travel would only be allowed for a couple of weeks at Christmas and in the summer. The pass would then be limited to a radius of 50 miles from home.

She says the money saved could be used to help young people get to college.


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