Ministers fight free bus pass for men at 60

The Government is facing a court battle over its refusal to give free bus passes to men aged 60 and over.

The Government is facing a court battle over its refusal to give free bus passes to men aged 60 and over.

At present, women get free passes from 60 in some areas, and men must wait until they are 65, though rail companies offer discounted fares to men 60 and over as senior citizens.

Christopher Spindlow, a 60-year-old Londoner, says the bus pass anomaly contravenes European regulations and breaches Article 14 of the Human Rights Act by discriminating against men. Mr Spindlow is backed by Parity, the equal rights pressure group, which has retained Lovells, the City law firm.

The group has won high-profile victories over the Government on sex discrimination, including winter fuel payments and free prescriptions for men and women at 60. In both cases, the Government claimed linking the benefit to the pensionable age was right, but the European Court rejected this.

Different age limits for men and women on pensions have remained unchanged since 1947. John Mays, chairman of Parity, said a victory would also ensure environmental benefits, because car use would be reduced.

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