‘These [disabled] people need to have access to public transport which is free.’ – Deputy E.J. Noel of St. Lawrence, seeking election as Minister for Transport and Technical Services, 6th November 2014.
Today, I lodged an amendment to the Medium Term Financial Plan asking for the £100, 000 that was to be allocated by the Privileges and Procedures Committee to States Members Pensions to be put to the (arguably better) cause of providing free bus passes for disabled residents in Jersey. As I explain below, this sum may or may not be enough, however, it will be a start and, more importantly, it will force a States decision on the matter and keep the pressure up on the Minister to deliver on his election promise.
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rugby player, Michael Lynagh on behalf of the Stroke Association
People in Jersey may disagree on how much money we should spend on Income Support, who should qualify for free TV licenses, and how money should be spent generally. It seems to me, however, that in a decent, civilized society, decent provision should be made for those need assistance to do other things that many of us take for granted. It is important too, as the Health Minister Andrew Green has said, that we focus on what people can do and not what they can't, and this initiative recognizes the courage and resilience that many in our society show in the face of (sometimes hidden) physical and mental adversity.
The people I have spoken to overwhelmingly support the idea that disabled people should be given free travel on public transport (i.e. buses). I hope the States will endorse this amendment and send a strong message of solidarity to these people who play an active role in our society despite the challenges they may face.