Scottish Labour should follow Corbyn’s lead in free bus travel for those under 25. Richard Leonard has an opportunity to grasp the youth vote by the scruff of the neck and take the policy further.

Throughout Scotland young people are suffering as a result of rising living costs, lack of geographically accessible jobs and of course high stress employment with relatively low pay.

The policy itself could save young people hundreds if not thousands of pounds each year but we can go further.

Upon taking the railways into public ownership we could offer free travel nationwide to the youth and ultimately break down a number of barriers to young people trying to make their way in life whether it be through work or education.

It is worth mentioning that rural areas within Scotland 48% of young people felt they could not take on employment due to transport costs and 30% were the same in terms of education or training. The issue isn’t solely with rural parts however as up to 20% of the countries communities fall into the high risk category when it comes to affordability of transport. It is clear to see that providing youth’s free access to both trains and buses could seriously address a number of issues.

This would allow young workers and students to travel freely across the country and could perhaps aid in alleviating youth unemployment, as people could look for and take up jobs in other areas without the financial burden of rising train and bus fares.

Ultimately such a policy would not only offer financial benefits for young people but also environmental. According to Labour their current policy at UK level would create ‘lifelong increases’ in public transport usage. With more people opting for public transport it would reduce carbon emissions and air pollution with ultimately fewer people on the roads.

North of the border it is Labour and the SNP who are battling for the support of young people after last June’s general election. Now with the Labour Party at UK level endorsing such policies and encouraging what is essentially municipal socialism, Richard Leonard should start developing similar ideas so that Labour in government locally and nationally can initiate such progressive plans. Scottish Labour can encourage and incentivise public ownership locally, leading the way in a Scotland where our services work for people and not profit.

There is only one serious party in Scotland who want to take services back into public hands and that is Labour. We have an opportunity to show we are the party for young people and with a bit of imagination and courage finally take the gauntlet from the SNP.

Grant Aitken (20)

Campaign for Socialism- Executive Member