Hundreds of disabled people who may have their
right to free travel withdrawn gathered outside Hackney Town Hall
last week to protest against the proposed cut.
Hackney Council is one of a handful of London
local authorities that are scrapping travel passes in a move that
will affect thousands of disabled people.
Claiming to be acting within the Transport Act
2000, the council has rejected hundreds of applications for the
Disabled People’s Freedom Pass, which entitles holders to free
travel on bus, tube and rail.
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 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 accepted.
The charity Greater London Action on
Disability (Glad) has now launched the Defend the Disabled People’s
Pass campaign. A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Hackney
social services has targeted £5m cuts which will hit some of
its most vulnerable residents. It also assumes we won’t fight
Brenda Ellis, co-ordinator of Glad, said other
councils such as Lambeth, Croydon and Richmond were also cutting
the pass for people on a lower rate of Disability Living
A spokesperson for Hackney council said that
it was acting within criteria set out in guidance from the
Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions and was
encouraging people to provide evidence of their disability.