Guest column: Free bus travel would give young people a real helping hand

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

I was delighted to see this week that Labour has announced a new policy to fund free bus travel for under-25s across the country.

The move could benefit up to 13 million young people, helping them save up to £1,000 a year.

Young people deserve a break.

Nearly eight years of Tory austerity have hit their incomes, their chances to buy a house and their career opportunities.

Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them, which is why this week we have pledged that the next Labour Government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under-25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to visit friends.

Buses are vital for easing road congestion and air pollution.

But for too long, private bus companies have run our services for profit and not aimed at what people actually need.

The public purse already pays 42 per cent of the costs of providing local bus services.

But deregulated private companies choose to run only the profitable services and leave councils to plug the gaps left for non-profitable but vital routes.

I was saddened to hear this week that BBC Yorkshire political editor Len Tingle had passed away.

Len was political editor for 17 years and he was a familiar face to viewers of Look North.

I had known Len for many years and I would like to send my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.