Portsmouth City Council, like all local councils, is facing substantial reductions to the money it receives from the government. This means we have some tough choices to make as we review services and make savings.
At the moment disabled people receive £45 annually in tokens that can be used for taxis, ferries, buses and dial-a-ride. This is in addition to a weekly amount of benefit (such as DLA, PIP) a number of disabled people already receive to help them get out and about.
At the November 2013 meeting of Portsmouth City Council a saving of £148,500 was agreed from the withdrawal of discretionary travel tokens for eligible disabled people, subject to consultation with affected individuals.
In March 2014 Portsmouth City Council conducted a survey to ask disabled people who receive the tokens what impact the withdrawal of tokens would have on their day to day lives. Letters were sent to all 3300 disabled people that presently receive discretionary travel tokens asking them to answer a short survey of 6 questions. The consultation ended on the 31 March 2014; 1486 responses were received.
An analysis has been undertaken of the consultation returns, and an Equality Impact Assessment has been developed - these can be accessed below.
Alternatively, a paper copy is available to view at the Ground Floor Reception, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.
Based on the responses to the consultation, it has been determined that the withdrawal of this benefit will not have a major impact on the user. The survey illustrated that over 88% of individuals receive a benefit ranging from £21 - £69 per week directly from central government specifically for funding mobility needs. The additional income provided by the discretionary travel token allocation amounts to £45 annually, or 86p per week.
Due to these findings and the high proportion of individuals who already receive a direct payment from government to aid mobility, it has been decided to withdraw the discretionary travel tokens. Individuals will still be able to apply for a concessionary bus pass.
All eligible individuals, whether in receipt of an allowance/benefit specifically for mobility or not, may still be able to access other benefits, including Patient Transport. To ensure that individuals have access to information regarding benefits available and alternative travel options, in particular Patient Transport, Portsmouth City Council will run a number of drop-in sessions, with advisors to help individual's access services.
We will be contacting those individuals who registered their interest in the drop-in sessions in the consultation process to advise of dates.
If you have any questions about the results of the consultation, please phone 023 9283 4355, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Transport Planning, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2NE