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Wokingham Lib Dems Celebrate Success as Tories Back Down on Concessionary Fares Scheme

January 28, 2005 12:00 AM

Wokingham Liberal Democrats are today celebrating the Tory U-turn on their proposal to scrap the free travel tokens for elderly and disabled people in the district.

At a meeting at Shute End last night, packed with angry residents from across the district, Wokingham District Council's Conservative Executive backed down from their proposals that would have badly affected many of the most vulnerable people in the district.

Councillor Prue Bray (Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Councillor Group and Councillor for Winnersh ward) said, "This climb-down is a huge victory for 'people power'. The Tories had to back down in the face of massive public protest. They had to withdraw their mean-spirited plan and replace it with what is essentially the same as the current scheme introduced by the Liberal Democrats. We still need some reassurance about certain details of the proposals agreed last night, but we are delighted that the key elements of choice and flexibility of the scheme have been restored.

"Faced with a lot of angry residents, who besieged the Council offices with 'phone call, e-mails and visits, Frank Browne finally had to admit that he had made a catastrophic error of judgement. The Tories believed they could steamroller their proposal through, and were shamed into backing down.

"The Tories cannot be trusted with the Concessionary Fares scheme. They

have cut it before, and tried again last night, before being forced to retreat in the face of public hostility. The Lib Dems will not give up the fight to keep the choice and flexibility that our scheme gives elderly and disabled people."