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|Mayor's Cheap Bus Tickets Scheme Under Fire|
- Half-price fare deal for poor is 'indefensible' say Tories
KEN LIVINGSTONE has been slammed for his new scheme to let Londoners on income support on the buses for half price.
To pay for the scheme, Livingstone has wangled some cheap diesel fuel from Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, in return for helping with city planning in the oil-rich South American country.
"The spectacle of our mayor, who supposedly believes in social justice, going cap in hand to a dictator with a monstrous human rights record - and who presides over a sizeable portion of people in the direst poverty - to skim off a resource which is needed to relieve such poverty is morally indefensible," said Angie Bray, the Tory leader on the Greater London Assembly.
Livingstone disagrees: "The agreement will benefit the people of Venezuela, by providing expertise in areas of city management in which London is a world leader, such as public transport, planning, tourism and protection for the environment," he said.
The Mayor was supported by anti-poverty campaigners. "Families will directly benefit from more affordable travel and London will be a more inclusive community for those affected by poverty," said Kate Green, of Child Poverty Action.
Under the scheme, those on income support will be able to pay fares of 50p on the usual Oyster UKP1.00 fare, which will next month fall to 45p after the planned 10 per cent overall fare reduction.
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