Mayor of London urges government to keep travel free for thousands of Hackney young people

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan leaves Downing Street. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan leaves Downing Street. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA - Credit: PA

Thousands of young people in Hackney are set to lose free travel under new government plans.

Data shows the measures could impact almost 18,000 young people across the borough.

So, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is urging the government to find a better solution that doesn’t impact the poorest in the capital.

He said: “I will continue to urge ministers to do the right thing and drop their demand to suspend free travel for under-18s in London.

“It’s clear that losing free travel would hit the poorest Londoners hardest at a time when finances are stretched more than ever.

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“It is simply not right that poorer children will be expected to face additional barriers or disincentives for returning to education, or for their educational choices to be made based on whether they can afford to travel.

“Instead of forcing this measure through, the government must work with TfL and City Hall to find a better solution that doesn’t risk hitting the poorest Londoners hardest.”

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But the government says it is working with Transport for London (Tfl) and its offer of a £1.6bn support package included “a series of conditions” agreed by the Mayor of London.

A government spokesperson said: “The government is working closely with TfL to make sure every single eligible child continues to receive free travel to school.”

The Department is also considering whether there are further categories of children that should receive free transport.

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The London mayor is concerned for the thousands of 11 to 17 year-olds in Hackney who will be affected.

Last week, the government signalled it would delay the suspension of free travel until after the half-term in October.

But Mayor Khan says no matter when the plans are implemented, the impact will be the same.

He believes the changes could risk the safety of young people and place administrative and financial burdens on schools and local authorities.

As part of a condition of an emergency funding package in May, Tfl experts have been identifying issues and risks which need to be addressed before any changes can be implemented.

Tfl’s data reveals in a normal school week, 8 million journeys are made by under-18s in London.

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