Back to Work pilot travel scheme extended

Discount tube and bus fares for those returning to employment

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A pilot scheme designed to help Londoners move into employment is to be extended until the end of the year. Open to residents in seven London local authorities, including Ealing, the scheme entitles people who are moving from benefits into work and qualify for Working Tax Credit to a 30% discount on travel for the first six months of their employment.

The scheme is aimed at alleviating some of the initial costs people face when they start work after a period of unemployment.

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: “There are a number of obstacles facing people returning to work after a long period of unemployment including buying suitable clothes, paying off arrears and the extra costs of travel. By bringing down the cost of travel this scheme will help people through the crucial first six months. This important programme has already helped people returning to work in Ealing. I hope many more people will be able to benefit from the help on offer.”

Sharon Lawrence from West London, who benefited from the scheme when she returned to work, said: “The savings I made on travel costs really helped me in my first months back at work. You don’t realise how many different expenses you are going to face when you start a job and having the travel card makes a huge difference. Everyone getting back into work should check out if they can get help.”

The pilot scheme started in January 2004 and will now run until the end of the year. Qualifying individuals will receive a photocard from TfL, which will entitle them to the concessionary fares on seven day, monthly and longer period Travelcards and all London bus passes.

The seven pilot boroughs are: Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Ealing, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and in the Corporation of London.

Notes to Editors

2. The ‘Back to Work’ travel scheme is organised by Transport for London working with Jobcentre Plus and the London Development Agency.

3. Working Tax Credit is available to individuals and families who are working sixteen hours a week or more and who are on low-to-middle incomes. People who are receiving more than £545 a week in Child Tax Credit can also apply for the ‘Back to Work’ scheme.

4. Previous research commissioned by the Mayor has shown that parents in London face greater barriers to employment than elsewhere due to the high cost of living in the capital.

5. In recognition of the higher costs faced by families with children in London, the Government has recently announced that from April 2005 all parents in London who have been out of work for more than one year will be eligible for a £40 per week ‘in-work credit’ over their first year of employment.

August 6, 2004