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COUNCILLORS CLAIM the halving of permitted Taxi Card journeys from 104 to 52 a year is necessary to keep the service running in the face of cuts to local authority funding.

Councillor Sachin Shah, Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for finance said: “Harrow Council fully understands the value and importance of the discretionary Taxi Card scheme which provides enhanced living opportunities to our residents and was a key reason why it was protected from council cuts.

“Reducing the amount of journeys was a difficult decision but it has ensured the continuance of the service this year. If more subsidy cuts are applied by TfL the council will have to further review the operation of the scheme which may include increasing the cost of a single trip.”

The comment by Harrow Council comes after criticism by local disabled and elderly residents who claim they will be “left to lie down and die” if the Taxi Card cuts are permanent. The service,  has 90,000 members in London and gives a lifeline to vulnerable people who find it difficult to access public transport. Some elderly people say they have already used the new 52 journeys a year limit and will be housebound until next April.

In a statement, Harrow Council said: “The Taxi Card scheme is managed on our behalf by London Councils and is jointly funded by  the London Borough of Harrow and Transport for London.

“Historically, Harrow Council receives less subsidy from TfL than other London councils and together with our increasing ageing population, there is a mounting pressure on the Taxi Card Scheme.”

“Given the current economic situtation it was not possible to increase the budget for this discretionary service although an inflationary increase was applied.”

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