I CAN only concur with Scott Macdonald regarding the importance of the free bus pass for those on low incomes. (Letters, September 30). I too felt disappointed at Nicola Sturgeon’s dismissive response when Labour MSP Richard Leonard expressed his concerns regarding the future of concessionary travel for older people in Scotland.

Like Scott, I too have taken part in the Scottish Government’s current consultation regarding proposed changes to entitlement to the free bus pass, including the prospect of the qualifying age for older people being increased. Any increase of this kind would be such a regressive measure as it would disproportionately affect those older people on the lowest incomes who don’t have their own transport.

There are people in their early 60s who are unemployed or chronically sick or disabled and remain under the DWP cosh – older people who are having to jump through pointless hoops in order to avoid being sanctioned. At a time when jobcentres are to be closed, necessitating additional travel costs for some of the poorest people in our communities, it is unacceptable that the Scottish Government should be considering deferring entitlement to the free bus pass regardless of people’s financial circumstances.

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Not everyone who is chronically sick or disabled receives help with the costs of transport and many of those who have done so are now having benefits like DLA/PIP cut or disallowed. Bus fares are increasing and are simply prohibitive for many of the poorest people, exacerbating social exclusion. Any across-the-board increase to the qualifying age for entitlement to the free bus pass would only have a adverse impact on the mental and physical health of many older unemployed and disabled people not yet of pension age. Not to mention older working people who are low-paid. I urge anyone who is concerned about this and who hasn’t already done so, to take part in the Scottish Government’s consultation.
Mo Maclean
Glasgow

THE appointment of Neil Oliver as president of National Trust Scotland will inevitably lead to many longstanding members heading for the exit (Indy-hating historian gets top job at National Trust, The National, September 30).

Many people of my acquaintance are certainly minded to cancel their membership at the first opportunity. This organisation seems utterly oblivious to the sympathies and feelings of their own long-suffering ordinary members. He is not a fit person to lead any organisation which I am prepared to support or belong to.
Willie Archibald
Peebles

IT is completely wrong for the NTS to appoint someone who holds political views which are deeply offensive to almost half of Scotland’s population and who expresses them publicly and with such vehemence. How can such a person act in an ambassadorial role on behalf of an apolitical charity? If the board of trustees cannot see this they should be considering their own positions.

I have with some regret sent my resignation to the chairman of the NTS explaining my reasons for doing so. I hope others will do the same because Unionists have to be made aware that they cannot offend so many people with impunity.
Andrew M Fraser
Inverness

I HAVE today cancelled my Trust membership and removed it as a beneficiary in my Will.

The Trust’s appointments committee must be from Mars if they thought Neil Oliver’s appointment as president wouldn’t infuriate a high proportion of its members.
Tom Pate
Edinburgh