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NUS: Corbyn's bus pass pledge removes barrier for FE students

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to announce a major policy today on a visit to a sixth form in Derby

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to announce a major policy today on a visit to a sixth form in Derby

Free bus travel for under 25-year-olds would remove one of the major barriers which stops people going to college or starting an apprenticeship, the NUS students’ union vice president for FE has said.

If elected, Labour is proposing to provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities. The move could benefit up to 13 million young people, help them save up to £1,000 a year and will be paid for using money ring-fenced from car tax.

'Don't forget adult learners'

Emily Chapman, vice president for further education, said the NUS welcomed the pledge having been lobbying for it, but warned that adult lifelong learners should not miss out.

“Time and time again we hear from students and apprentices, often with very little or no financial support, who tell us this is amongst one of the biggest obstacles that they face to accessing and succeeding in education. Of course, not all learners studying in further and higher education are under-25s. There are also those who are reliant on trains and other costly modes of transport, and this is just one cost of many.

“That’s why policies such as this, although a huge step – or mile – in the right direction, will always need to be accompanied by the introduction of a proper financial support package for all students and apprentices in post-16 education. Only then could we claim that entering and achieving in education really is an option for all.”

'A huge difference to their lives'

Jeremy Corbyn is today expected to say that “young people deserve a break” adding: “Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them, which is why today we are pledging the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under 25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to visit friends.

“Our policy provides help where it is most needed. On average, children, young people and households with children each have less disposable income than working age households without children. Young people also tend to be in lower paid, more insecure work, and they spend a higher proportion of their income on travel. Giving them free bus travel will make a huge difference to their lives.”

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