Family Oyster Card with 25% Discount Proposed for London Elections
Candidates standing in the London Assembly elections are unveiling plans to grant major travel concessions in the capital for families with children. The Christian Peoples Alliance says that if elected in May, they will campaign for the adoption of a Family Oyster Card, which will give 25% off all fares in London travel zones for households in receipt of child benefit. The policy is based on a similar card in Paris and entitles individuals to get the discount when travelling to work on their own, even without their children.
The Family Oyster Card is part of the CPA Manifesto Caring Families, Caring Communities for the London Assembly. Commenting at the policy launch at New Malden Railway Station, CPA Assembly candidate Sue May, a working mother from Kingston upon Thames, who travels to central London, will say:
"Traditional households in Britain pay £2,200 more in tax than our competitor economies and exorbitant travel fares in London are loaded on top of this. Our policy will benefit working parents with significant fare concessions, regardless of whether the children are travelling with them."
The Family Oyster will be given to all households in receipt of Child Benefit, meaning that in 2013 under Treasury plans, higher rate taxpayers close to a £60,000 threshold will not be eligible. The CPA policy has been costed by independent analysts PAPRI at £325m annually, but will fall when the child benefit cap is introduced. This compares with Ken Livingstone's Fares Fair policy, which his campaign says costs £269m.
The Christian Peoples Alliance proposes to pay for the policy from the operating surplus reported by TfL on 29th June 2011 TfL, which was £727mn in the Financial Year. This comes from total fare income of £3,533m. The principle of concessionary cards exists already – with the Veterans Oyster Card – given to all individuals in receipt of war pensions.
The CPA’s Family Oyster Card is modelled on a Paris discount fare system, the former 'Kiwi card', which gave a generous 50% concession to parents and others in the family, up to 4 persons, travelling in the city. Paris has had a concessionary fares policy - the Carte Famille Nombreuse – since 1921. With this carte, the SNCF (French railway) allows individuals even if not travelling with their family, to benefit from reduced tariffs.
Campaigners for the CPA - who are running on the ballot paper as 'Supporting Traditional Marriage' - say the Family Oyster is designed to tackle the scourge of in work households with children, who live in poverty.
Explaining, lead Assembly candidate, Malcolm Martin from Lewisham, will say:
"Rather than an indiscriminate fares cut of 7% with a slightly lower bus fare, as proposed by Labour, we believe in policies that invest in families, especially in these times of austerity. Our manifesto does favour married couples, who are the bedrock of stable communities. But the Family Oyster Card also recognises the supreme commitment made by single parents, many of whom are single due to no fault of their own.”
The Christian Peoples Alliance is running on the 'top-up' list orange ballot paper which uses proportional representation. The party won more votes than any other party in the last London elections in 2008, among those who just fell short of qualifying for a seat.
NOTES ON FIGURES:
The policy is based 2011 figures and uses the assumption that 12.7% of all families in the UK are in the London area and capable of using public transport. We have estimated numbers of parents.
- 1,146,556 parents who are married with dependent children.
- 248,666 single parents with care responsibilities.
- 278,638 parents who cohabit with dependent children.
- 1300 same-sex people in civil partnerships or living in same household with dependent children.
To cover households in receipt of child benefit in these 4 groups with a 25% concession would cost £325m.
High Tax Paid by Traditional Families
See Care Tax Report quoted:
Paris Based Fare System (See French language sites for full details)
The carte famille nombreuse gives discounts on SNCF tickets, the RATP and RER (Paris local transport) and some regional transport. It also offers discounts on national museums and some community sporting activities and cinemas. Ticket discounts vary from 30% (three children) to 75% (six children).
Transport for London Surpluses
TfL has been generating very large operating surpluses, above expectations.
- On 29th June 2011 TfL reported it had an operating surplus of £727mn in the Financial Year 2010/11.
TfL Board Report, p.18, Appendix Two Financial Summary,
The most recent financial data for the first 9 months of the current Financial Year confirms this trend. This shows that the operating surplus in the first 9 months is £310m.
Veterans Oyster Card
Receiving ongoing payments under the War Pensions Scheme in their name (this includes widows, widowers and dependants). Or receiving Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in their name (this includes widows, widowers and dependants).