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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10209: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 July 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with carers and carers' organisations as part of its consultation on concessionary travel regarding the introduction of concessionary travel for carers.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 28 July 2017

No discussions have been held with carers and carers' organisations as part of the preparations for the consultation, which is due to be published later this year. The consultation's focus will be on securing the long term sustainability of the scheme and it is not planned to cover the introduction of travel concessions for carers.

There are currently over 1.3m cardholders under the National Concessionary Travel Scheme for Older and Disabled Persons. The Scottish Government’s publication Scotland’s Carers estimates that in Scotland there are 759,000 adult carers aged 16 and over and 29,000 carers under the age of 16. In total 788,000 carers.

A substantial number of carers will already be eligible for concessionary travel by virtue of age or as a companion for a cardholder. On the basis of age we can assume that around 20% of Scotland’s 759,000 carers aged 16 and over already hold a card. This suggests that over 600,000 new people would be entitled to concessionary travel if the scheme were extended to carers. This, in turn, would suggest a requirement for budget increases of upwards of 50% of the existing scheme.

While the Scheme does not contain specific eligibility criteria for carers, people who are in receipt of the higher or middle rate of the care component of DLA, the Daily Living component of PIP or Attendance Allowance, or who are certified blind can apply for a companion concessionary travel card. This allows the card holder, and a companion (who may be a carer) to travel together free of charge for the same bus journey.