Success in the free bus passes for asylum seekers campaign

The campaign to extend the free bus pass scheme to asylum seekers, suppored by Scotland’s faith communites, has seen a major success. The Scottish Government has annouced thatt £2 million from next year’s budget will be invested to extend the free bus travel scheme to asylum seekers and refugees including displaced people from Ukraine.

This policy will have a transformational impact on people waiting for their asylum claims to be heard during which time they are forbidden to work and forced to survive on as little as £9.50 a week, when a day ticket for bus travel can cost £5.

Asylum seeker bus pass

The Scottish Religious Leaders Forum played a critical role in the campaign, and was cited in the Scottish Parliament as evidence of the widespread support for the policy.

Abiola, an asylum seeker from Nigeria who has lived in Glasgow for five years, said having a free bus pass to enable her to move around more freely would be a tremendous benefit to her mental health and wellbeing. “The restrictions and limitations placed on asylum seekers make us feel like we are prisoners,” she added.

This policy will have a transformational effect on the lives of people waiting for their asylum claims to be heard. It will allow people to attend important appointments, access services that benefit their wellbeing, and give them the ability to access places of worship. This will have an untold benefit to people’s wellbeing and will help people to integrate within their communities.

This annoucnement is a welcome step forward and evidence that faith communities can make a difference when they speak together on issues of justice and equality.

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