A PLEDGE to offer young people free bus travel has been welcomed by Matt Rodda MP.

Jeremy Corbyn revealed on Thursday that the next Labour government plans to introduce free travel for under 25s, using ring-fenced funding from road tax to subsidies fares.

In his role as shadow minister for Transport, the MP for Reading East, has worked closely with colleagues to make this offer, which could save young people as much as £1,000 per year if they use the buses every day.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of funds being used to fix potholes throughout the borough, but Mr Rodda explained that road repairs would be funded by 'government borrowing'.

He said: "Vehicle Excise Duty has not yet been used for new roads. It has been put to one side for road spending and we think it is much more effective to use around 20 per cent of that money on this policy to encourage more bus use.

"It is in the wider interests of everyone to have more people on buses, both in terms of reducing congestion, but also for the environmental benefits.

Reading Chronicle:

"Potholes are funding by a different Department for Transport budget. We will increase the money that is spent on new roads by using money from our national infrastructure fund, which is funded by government borrowing.

"This will help young people enormously and is particularly relevant for Reading because there are lots of young people who are struggling."

It is estimated that around one third of Reading Buses' paying customers are under the age of 25.

Labour research suggests the scheme could achieve annual savings of £276m per year and 'incentivise' other local authorities to follow Reading's model by adopting a municipally owned bus company.

Mr Corbyn added: "Young people deserve a break. Nearly eight years of Tory austerity have hit their incomes, their chance to buy a house and their career opportunities.

"Labour wants to help young people make the most out of life by investing in them, which is why we are pledging the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel."