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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-10210: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 July 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what work it has carried out to define eligibility criteria for concessionary travel for carers, and what those criteria are.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 28 July 2017

The Scottish Government has no current plans to extend concessionary travel to carers although many can already benefit from concessionary travel under existing criteria. A substantial number of carers are aged 60 or over and are therefore already eligible for free bus travel. Younger carers aged between 16 and 18 and those who are full time volunteers aged up to 25 can benefit from the National Concessionary Travel Scheme for Young People, which provides discounts on bus and rail travel.

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.