Merseytravel scoops top award for helping
MERSEYTRAVEL has scooped a
top award in the transport industry for helping disadvantaged young
people who are struggling to pay for their travel to school, college
The young people's affordability pilot scheme; launched last year
to help those most in need; has won the Most Innovative Transport
Project accolade in this year's crème-de-la-crème National Transport
Considered the Oscars of the transport world and supported by the
Department for Transport and Passenger Focus, the award recognises
the success the initiative has achieved in going that extra mile and
helping those most in need of support. Merseytravel, who beat of stiff competition from big operations
including Transport for London, was praised for addressing the cost
of travel for young people, which can reduce access to education,
learning, work and leisure opportunities.
Chair of Merseytravel Councillor Liam Robinson said:- "I'm
delighted we have won such a prestigious award and gained national
recognition for this important work because it is making a real
difference to young people's lives. We understand that the
cost of travel can reduce access to education and life-enhancing
opportunities such as training, work experience or volunteering.
This is why we signed a pledge to work with transport operators,
education establishments and local authorities to make transport
more affordable for young people."
The scheme; which includes giving out free travel tickets, bikes
and personalised journey planning information; has had a positive
impact on those who took part.
It followed insight that some teenagers were not turning up at
school, college or apprenticeships because they couldn't afford the
cost of public transport or lacked awareness about transport
services. Broadgreen International School said that 98% of students who
received support with transport costs showed a marked improvement in
Headteacher Sally Beevers said:- "We are grateful for
Merseytravel's support, which has had a positive impact on our
students. Their generous offer of travel passes for some of our
students who have very poor attendance and punctuality has
demonstrated that high public transport costs for young people can
be a barrier to attending school when household income is low. We
want to see these good patterns of attendance continue and have
committed further school funding to ensure this happens."
As well as Broadgreen, Merseytravel worked with FE colleges, and
apprentice schemes. After the support, they have given good
Andy Pollard, Headteacher at Haydock High School, said:-
"There is a simple equation: If a student doesn't come to school he
or she doesn't learn. We serve a community high in social
deprivation and some of our parents struggle, routinely, to find
money for bus fares. I am deeply indebted to Merseytravel for the
support given to 12 of our most needy students. Because of the
generous offer of a free bus pass they can now attend school and
receive the education which we hope will stand them in good stead
for the future. Merseytravel has helped the school honour its pledge
that 'every child matters, every child is known and every child
Knowsley Community College also praised the initiative after more
than 2,000 students benefited from expert travel advice during
enrolment last September, including awareness of financial support
available. A leaflet produced by Merseytravel is now being used at
all promotional events for the college to highlight the range of
travel options available.
Apprentices at UK Railway, who had no income and because of their
age were not eligible for Jobseekers' Allowance, were also supported
by Merseytravel. By giving them free tickets it ensured they were
able to complete mandatory training off site, which led to them
gaining employment in the rail industry.
Merseytravel has also worked with bus operators to launch a £2
flat fare all day ticket for young people aged 15 and under, and
early feedback suggests this is having a positive impact. Merseytravel also scored another success with a special award for
his 'Outstanding Contribution to Transport' going to
Robinson, Chair of the Merseytravel Committee and General Purposes
licensing scheme set for approval
LIVERPOOL City Council is
set to introduce a licensing scheme for the city's 50,000 private
rented properties; in a bid to drive up the quality of housing in
It follows a 3 month consultation over the proposal, and would mean
that all landlords who privately rent properties in the City would
require a licence for each of their rented properties.
The City Council will need to determine that the proposed licence
holder is a 'fit and proper' person to manage their
properties, including having regard, amongst other things, to any
convictions for dishonesty, violence or drugs or contraventions of
housing or landlord/tenant laws.
Landlords will have to meet a variety of conditions around fire,
electric and gas safety; rectify disrepair issues; tackle pest
infestations; keep the exterior in a good state of repair and deal
with complaints about anti-social behaviour caused by tenants.
Liverpool City Council's Assistant Mayor andCabinet Member for
Housing, Councillor Ann O'Byrne, said:- "We all know someone
with a horror story to tell about a bad landlord. This scheme is
about giving tenants some expectation of their rights, and the City
Council the power to tackle breaches.
Liverpool has a growing number of privately rented properties and
the sector is vital in meeting the city's housing needs, so it is
important that what is on offer is of high quality.
Although many landlords operate professionally, we are concerned
about a number of landlords who rent properties which fail to meet
satisfactory standards of tenancy and property management.
This has a negative impact on the health and welfare of local
communities and on a housing market that is already vulnerable in
terms of vacant properties, low house prices and depressed rental
Poorly managed properties also lead to problems such as anti-social
behaviour and fly tipping, and are a blight on the city's
Responsible landlords who provide quality accommodation for tenants
have absolutely nothing to fear from this scheme, and we are
exploring ways of reducing the licence fee wherever possible for
good, compliant landlords."
During the consultation, more than 2,000 responses were received
from landlords, tenants, residents and stakeholders.
Residents who responded were generally in favour of the proposals;
with 89% who were contacted in a telephone survey giving it the
thumbs up, while 59% of residents who completed an online
questionnaire were supportive. 66% of the other organisations
consulted also indicated their support.
People who were broadly supportive said it would make it easier to
identify absentee landlords and give tenants better consumer
However, there was opposition from letting agents, landlords and
landlords' forums for the scheme, with more than 80% against it.
No final decision has been made about the cost to landlords,
although a figure of less than £2 per week per property has been
suggested. This would be tax deductible consideration will be given
to reduced fees if landlords are members of an accreditation scheme
or have multiple properties.
The fees will only be used for legitimate costs incurred by the
Council such as compliance checks to make sure landlords are meeting
the conditions of the licence.
Discussions are also underway with Residential Landlords
Association, the National Landlords Association and a group of
lettings agents about a co-regulation model whereby accredited
landlords are deemed to comply and would pay a reduced fee.
If approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on Friday, 10 October 2014, the
scheme will be introduced from April 2015.