Hundreds of disabled people who may have their right to free
travel withdrawn gathered outside Hackney town hall to protest
against the proposed cuts.
Hackney council is one of a handful of London local authorities
that are scrapping travel passes in a move that will affect
thousands of people with disabilities.
The council says it is acting within the Transport Act 2000 in
rejecting hundreds of applications for the disabled people’s
freedom pass, which entitles holders to free travel on bus tube and
The council sent a letter at the end of last year saying that it
had changed its eligibility criteria and only those who were on a
higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance, or
could provide supporting evidence from a medical consultant, would
be entitled to the pass. A GP’s letter will no longer be
Charity Greater London Action on Disability (GLAD) has now
launched a campaign, ‘Defend The Disabled People’s Pass’. A
spokesperson for the campaign said: “Hackney social services has
targeted £5 million cutbacks to hit some of its most
vulnerable residents and assumes we won’t fight back.”
Brenda Ellis, co-ordinator of GLAD, said other councils,
including Lambeth, Croydon and Richmond, were also cutting the pass
for people on a lower rate of disability living allowance.
A spokesperson for Hackney council said that it was acting
within criteria set out in guidance from the department of local
government transport and the regions, and was encouraging people to
provide evidence of their disability.