Lilian Greenwood challenged David Cameron over free bus passes for pensioners in the final PMQs before the Summer Recess.
Before the 2010 general election Cameron promised not to cut the free bus pass, but last year the Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said that the pass should be means-tested. That call was repeated in a speech on Tuesday by the Prime Minister’s close ally Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford.
Lilian Greenwood asked Cameron to ‘categorically rule out means testing of bus passes – including in his manifesto for the next general election.’ The Prime Minister said that he was ‘keeping’ his promises on pensioners’ benefits, but refused to commit to them beyond the next general election.
Speaking afterwards, Lilian Greenwood said:
‘David Cameron needs to be honest about his intentions. When his trusted aide Nick Boles is saying that the bus pass should be means-tested after the next election, it looks like he’s preparing the ground for future cuts – and his failure to answer my question will only add to that suspicion.
The free bus pass is vital to many pensioners – which is why Age UK has called for it to be kept available for all. Instead of introducing a costly, bureaucratic means-test the Prime Minister should stick to his promise and be straight with the public about any future cuts.’
The Indepedent reported that Cameron had 'dodged a direct question ... his ambiguous answer reinforced suspicions in Westminster that the Tories are thinking of means testing pensioner benefits.'