Boris Johnson takes credit for free bus pass after being told cash-strapped pensioners make trips to keep warm

The PM was reacting to claims a 77-year-old woman named Elsie rides the bus all day to cut down on her heating bill

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Tuesday 03 May 2022 10:37 BST
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson (ITV / Good Morning Britain)

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Boris Johnson has taken credit for introducing free bus passes for pensioners after being told elderly people are using them to keep warm.

In an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain the prime minister was told of a 77-year-old pensioner who rode the bus because she could not afford heating.

"To cut down on spending, Elsie has resorted to eating one meal a day. She’s losing weight, she’s 77," host Susanna Reid said.

"She goes to the supermarket at the end of the day to buy yellow sticker discounted items.

"She gets up early in the morning to use her Freedom bus pass to stay on buses all day to avoid using energy at home. What else should Elise cut back on?"

The prime minister replied: “Just to remind you that the 24 hour freedom bus pass was something that I introduced.”

The programme's host replied: “Marvellous, so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass!”

As mayor in 2012 Mr Johnson restored free travel for Londoners aged 60 years and older. Qualification with the benefit had previously been rising in line with the retirement age.

As a 77-year-old the pensioner cited on Good Morning Britain would have qualified for the bus pass with or without Mr Johnson's intervention.

The prime minister's comments come after chancellor Rishi Sunak said it would be "silly" to offer more help with bills despite the mounting cost of living crisis.

Desperate Britons are facing an average £700 increase in their gas and electricity bills after April’s energy price cap rise – with another 50 per cent spike expected in October.

But Mr Sunak said action should not be rolled out now "when we don’t know exactly what the situation in the autumn will be".

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