Mayor answers to London

Job Seekers Allowance Bus and Tram Pass take-up

Question number1576/2009
Meeting date17/06/2009

Question by Mike Tuffrey

Further to MQ 1153/2009 and MQ 1154/2009 which showed that take up of the Job Seekers Allowance concession is only 9% and as low as 3% in some boroughs, will you commit to improving the publicity for the Bus and Tram scheme discounts?

Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)

Thank you, Mike. I guessed that you asked particularly because I think you can claim some joint paternity - if you can have joint paternity - for this suggestion. I am obliged to you. It has been running, as you know, for only three months and the figures were low to begin with. They are now at 20% and they are rising fast I understand.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): Thank you. The trouble is today’s unemployment figures where London is now towards the top of national unemployment - it looked as though we were not being so hard hit but we are now, I think, fourth out of the 12 regions - will mean that the number eligible has gone up so the take-up will, as it were, go back down again.

Can you just look at ways of promoting it more: at ticket stations, in libraries, let’s talk to the boroughs and anybody who is interacting because this is a real practical help and we need to give it a good push?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Absolutely. I think you are dead right. I do not lose a single opportunity to mention it on the television whenever I am invited to discuss the things that we are doing to help Londoners to deal with the problems of the recession. I mention it along with the expansion of the Freedom Pass and other measures.

Obviously, everybody round the horseshoe, this is something that we have done to help Londoners in an economic downturn. I think it is something we should all be putting on to our newsletters and I am sure that Labour Members will be wanting to point out that this step has been taken by the Mayor and will want to be making that point accordingly. I hope very much that we work together to get the message over.

Mike Tuffrey (AM): Good. Thank you.

Main question

Mike Tuffrey