Give the young free bus passes, says Asda chief

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ASDA’s chief executive Andy Clarke is calling for free bus passes for 16 to 24-year-olds to help them travel to job interviews and enable them to commute once they are in work.

Mr Clarke said this is a better option than pushing up wages which could stifle job creation.

Tomorrow the Leeds-based supermarket will publish a new study looking at the impact the financial crisis has had on household incomes over the last five years and the impact it is likely to have over the next five years.

In reaction to the findings, Mr Clarke is calling for public transport subsidies for young people.

He said that data from the Office for National Statistics shows that rail fares have risen above inflation for the fifth year in a row, while Department for Transport figures revealed a 6.9 per cent rise in bus fares, compared with the same time last year.

“In some parts of the country, students are eligible for free or discounted public transport,” said Mr Clarke.

“This aims to assist those who are on limited incomes while they are developing their skills and experience at university or through higher education. As apprenticeships are increasingly becoming a popular alternative to the traditional further education route, the Government should promote accessible transport to individuals on low incomes.”

Asda will publish its special report to mark the fifth anniversary of the Asda Income Tracker, and will coincide with a panel debate.