Star date: 24th September 2013


Delegates to this week's Conservative Party Conference will be getting free travel passes for bus, trains and trams worth an estimated £130,000, courtesy of council tax payers in Salford and Greater Manchester.

The free `System One' travel cards are being handed out to around 4,000 Conservative Party members attending the Conference. `System One' is co-owned by Transport for Greater Manchester, which is funded by Salford Council and the nine other local councils.

Full details here...

Tories Not Welcome Here
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Champagne quaffing Tory members heading to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week will receive free `System One' travel passes for bus, trains and trams, worth around £130,000, courtesy of local council tax payers of Salford and Greater Manchester.

The estimated 4,000 Tory Party members attending the five day event (out of 12,000 delegates) will receive a free System One travel pass, for which the nearest equivalent – a County Card – would normally cost £33.30.

Give or take a few blue rinses and pinstriped prats from the City, the full cost works out around £130,000. The Conservative Party Conference website states…

"System One are pleased to offer complimentary travel cards for all Party Member representatives attending the event. These will be valid on bus, tram and train travel in Greater Manchester and will be presented in a travel pack with map and further information on getting around Greater Manchester. This will be issued with your Conference security photographic pass and handbook…"

System One is the branded Greater Manchester Travelcard, and the company is co-owned, as it states on its website, by `Greater Manchester's private bus, rail and tram operators and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)'.

Transport for Greater Manchester is the `delivery arm' for transport for the ten Greater Manchester local authorities, including Salford Council, and, according to its last accounts (2011-12), TfGM received £193million in funding from those authorities.

The free passes have been uncovered by the Green Party, and Joe O'Neill, from Salford Green Party, told the Salford Star he was `horrified' by the revelations…

"In an age of austerity should we be paying for these rich Tories to be visiting our city?" he asked "While I'm in favour of public transport, I'd like to know who made the decision to offer these free passes, when people struggling to get by in Salford on minimum wages have to pay the full fare. It's an absolute disgrace. I'm horrified."

£130,000 is merely chick feed for the fat cats of Transport for Greater Manchester. Last year, Salford Star revealed that its Chief Exec pulled in £199,936 plus a pension and NI package worth over £50,000. Its Chief Operating Officer trousered a salary of £189,552 plus a pension and NI package of around £40,000. Six others joined them on the gravy train with salaries of between £90-£129,999 (see Salford Star article – click here).

Meanwhile, from Salford Council, three councillors sit on the TfGM governing committee – Roger Jones and Barry Warner (Labour Party) and Robin Garrido (Conservative Party) – and, for the privilege, they pocket £3,825 on top of their basic councillor allowances and `special responsibilities'. Perhaps they can explain why rich Tories are getting almost £130,000 of free travel to grub their noses around the `North'.

In the meantime, Richard Soper, Chair of Greater Manchester Travelcards Ltd told the Salford Star…"System One has supported the annual political conferences of both Labour and the Conservatives when they have been held in the city for several years. We see it as an opportunity to get people who may not normally use public transport at home to try it whilst they are in our city.  It also helps to reduce car traffic during the busy conference period, with positive effects for the city centre environment, and normal local traffic.

"The travelcard we are offering to the delegates is one which has been specially produced for this purpose as a promotional venture, and is not available to buy" he added "The decision to support local events such as this is taken by the Board of the company, most of whose members are directors of the local bus companies and is a regular part of our business, for example, in promoting public transport, we also work with Greener Journeys to provide thousands of free day travelcards to local community schemes, and to projects aimed at persuading car commuters across Greater Manchester to travel by public transport."

This Sunday, 29th September sees the TUC protest against cuts to jobs, services and the NHS, and the Salford march on the Conservative Party Conference begins 10am at Bexley Square – for full details see previous Salford Star article – click here.

Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 3:43:12 AM on Monday, September 30, 2013
Dave my full apologys I was knocking the statement out while on the m10 Bus The IE workers on PAYE was intended to explain the working ppl were paying for the police not the freeloaders at the conferance.MY HUMBLE APOLOGIES As for the other letter I did not say that people like Hazel Blears were immune from tax and expences fiddles. They are a Disgrace. But when you have a Chancellol like Osbourne who fiddled on a house regenerated by tax payers.Sold by him on a tax dodge. Then explained to his sister how to get out of paying Inheretence tax is hardly encouraging
Gareth L wrote
at 11:36:20 PM on Sunday, September 29, 2013
I love how I read a Manchester Evening News Exclusive Story on this topic, three days after it appeared on the Star!!!! Shame on the MEN. Keep up the good work Stephen
the end wrote
at 11:35:55 PM on Sunday, September 29, 2013
ref Kenneth w mckelvey: two words for you when talking about expenses 'Hazel Blears'.
Dave wrote
at 11:35:15 PM on Sunday, September 29, 2013
@Kenneth, I think you may have got a bit over excited with yourself. What drugs have you been taking? "FREE LOADING TAX DODGERS. IE WORKERS! On PAYE" how the fuck can anyone on PAYE dodge tax it is deducted by the employer and handed straight over to the revenue, you get no choice as to if you pay it or not. I think you need to learn all about how tax works before going and attacking all the honest hardworking people who hold this country together, it's these people that pay your pension, fuel allowance, pension credit, rent, council tax, and that health service you love so much.
Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 2:14:12 AM on Sunday, September 29, 2013
Cllr Lindley extolling the virtues of the torys / Stating that it is not in their psyche to except freebees / One Tory minister who claims living on £72s a week is simple / He by the way has a Daily Breakfast costing £38 and puts it on his expences / He lives in a 30 roomed house rent free and claims people who have a spare bedroom should pay Bed Tax.That's IDSmith/ His mate Osbourne gets on a train with his Tory entorage pays for a ordinary tickets then they all tried to ride to London in a First Compartment.The Torys are a party of Tax Dodging Freeloading people And the police who will be in charge of the protest marches TUC/.ANTI private NHS etc will be funded by the tax paying people NOT THE FREE LOADING TAX DODGERS. IE WORKERS! On PAYE.
Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 5:38:44 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
What is all the fuss about free passes for Tory MPs /Only 1 quarter of Tory MPs attend party conferences the Other 3 quarters in attention are Lobbyists giving out bungs for lumps of our NHS/.Half the Tory MPs don't even attend the House Of Commans except on Wednesday so as to get their face on TV. And can any body visualise a Tory MP getting on any of the disgraceful public transport in Gt/ Man.They pack people in like cattle /the air conditioning blows hot air in summer/ cold air in winter /And they over charge like all the other privatised industry's Gas/ Water /Electricty/
Bernard Brough wrote
at 5:17:28 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
In Paul's world the Greens seem to wield power disproportionate to their following, but that is in Paul's world. Back in the real world it's not the Green Party burdening us with huge gas and electricity price hike, it's the privatised companies. The same companies who are threatening to turn of the gas and pull the plugs should Labour introduce price controls. It's privatisation, it kills.
Paul wrote
at 2:06:22 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
When your a large party like the Tories, and when you see protest groups who turn violent, then this is why so much money is spent on these conferences. when your minor irrelevant part that can hold it's conferences in a small pub like the Green Party, then life would be great. How much have the wishy washy greens put on your fuel bills in the name of climate change, and bills are set to double because of this so called climate change, scientists who help peddle this crap are making £millions out of us, this is the big story, how many OAPs will die this winter because of the green parties policies. The fuel companies don't need a reason to bump up the prices, but the greens have just given them the best reason yet.
James Walsh, A Native Mancunian wrote
at 12:06:27 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
Tories not welcome in my city whatever form of (subsidised) transport they arrive on
Potty Pete wrote
at 12:06:22 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
The only decent TORY is a LavaTORY
charlie wrote
at 12:06:16 AM on Saturday, September 28, 2013
Loads of money I'm a tory boy stuff Manc's and Salfordys the toys are here. Loads of money.
Kenneth w mckelvey wrote
at 12:03:09 PM on Friday, September 27, 2013
What planet is Cllr Iindley on /This Government took 20 Billion £s off the NHS budget./ His party also said Pensioners benefits are ringed fence and are safe with us. /They took 20% off our Winter Fuel Allowance/. Then when they give us a cost of living rise they take it off any pensioners who are on pension Credits./This useless government has back tracked and lied all the way through this Parliment. Personally I am not interested who run the UK as long as they do it with a shred of decency and fairly. But this lot are a disgrace Bed Tax / Pay Freeze for workers/ Tax Cuts For the richest.Sorry but no excuses will allieveate your governments shame you just seem to be carrying a vendetta against anybody who is on benefits you are a disgrace
Good on the bloke wrote
at 12:03:05 PM on Friday, September 27, 2013
Hats off to Cllr Iain Lindley for actually having the balls to come on this site and comment, I note that it's more that the Labour Cllrs have done. We might not agree with everything he has said but at least we got a comment from him. I notice how no Labour Cllrs have commented on this or any other stories on here, but then maybe Mayor Kim Jong Stewart has introduced internet censorship on all his followers. Personally I would prefer it if they got out and about in Salford, not just on the bus routes but down the back streets, let then see what has an arsonist in charge of the matches causes. And for those wondering about my political preferences! ... No I am not a Tory, but then again I would not trust Salford Labour to run a bloody tap.
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 8:12:19 AM on Friday, September 27, 2013
Strange response from Salford's Tories,It's an interesting story, but a few important things to remember: - Conference delegates have had nothing to do with this decision. They did not ask for these passes nor have they had the opportunity to refuse them. The decision was made by System One and Labour-run TfGM. - Most Conference delegates won't use the passes at all, as they will stay in the City Centre. Those that do will use them for short hops only. Many will refuse to use a freebie out of principle. I find these comments highly amusing no opportunity to refuse, many will refuse out of principle! some how I don't think so. It would be a fun exercise to possibly put in a request on actual usage and total cost,I don't blame the Tories for everything I mean how much did Labour cost us for their day out in Manchester? These people can afford to pay and in an environment of austerity the least they should do is put their hands in their damn pockets
at 8:11:41 AM on Friday, September 27, 2013
Ian Lindley. Your proof to justify your comments is what exactly ? Or are you just another council apologist ? That the taxpayer is funding the travel of these parasites is immoral and wrong .
Cllr Iain Lindley wrote
at 5:17:54 AM on Friday, September 27, 2013
It's an interesting story, but a few important things to remember: - Conference delegates have had nothing to do with this decision. They did not ask for these passes nor have they had the opportunity to refuse them. The decision was made by System One and Labour-run TfGM. - Most Conference delegates won't use the passes at all, as they will stay in the City Centre. Those that do will use them for short hops only. Many will refuse to use a freebie out of principle. The actual cost (right or wrong) will be minimal. - Independent estimates suggest that the Conference brings in £25m for the local economy. That secures plenty of jobs, including here in Salford. - Spending on the NHS has been protected by this Government. The only part of the UK where NHS spending has been cut is in Wales, where health is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Labour-run Assembly. - How much money are Greater Manchester Police spending to police the TUC march?
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 8:09:56 AM on Thursday, September 26, 2013
Not bothered what political affiliation you're attached to..this story smells fishy from start to finish - The guy in charge of the Travelcards company should, in effect, be lessening the cost to those in the region and not handing them out free and gratis to the great and the good. I've no doubt the big two travel companies will be at the conference instilling the benefits of Deregulation - all tinkered with by two Scottish mafias...if a travel firm anywhere else played the same trick - it'd be all over the news..and I've no doubt they'll be at the conservative shindig protecting their current position (wasn't privatisation meant to breakup unfair monopolies?)
Jim Sanders wrote
at 11:08:38 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
This is a completely immoral and unfair use of taxpayers money. Whoever authorised this appalling squandering of money must be sacked . Thanks to Joe and the Star for exposing this .
at 11:08:33 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Bernard Brough wrote
at 11:08:24 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Yet another mouthpiece who has no idea what socialism is.
Let's get our facts right wrote
at 11:08:07 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
@Wrote, I think you will find that it was the Labour councils in Greater Manchester that tried to introduce the congestion charge here, in fact Labour Cllr Roger Jones lost his seat at the time because of his support for it. May I also point out that the congestion charge (AKA in London the Kengestion charge) in London was brought in by Ken Livingstone AKA Red Ken. Oh any by the way Labour were also running the country at the time and had been for 6 years. Just wanted to clarify the facts on that!
at 1:32:12 AM on Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Heres an idea - weren't the tories trying to implement a London based measure on the county? (GM). The Congestion Charge??? Given they'll be touring the area saying what a fantastic job they're doing (Hmmm...) This charge should be implemented on them...And that's just the tip of a very large iceberg. How many councils are they in opposition here? it's an absolute joke this lot get freebies, they should pay and lessen the burden to the people living here.
salford kev wrote
at 4:44:00 PM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Joe is bang on, the should all drive their cars into manchester and then use them to get about the city. so wot about the effects on the inviroment and the congestuion on the roads they can aford it. bloody tories should also look at our poor area, yeah try getting out of you cars a bit. bloody tories
Don't know who i am now wrote
at 4:43:35 PM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Salford Metropolitan Council??????? Have I been in a coma or something????????????
at 4:19:17 PM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Personally I am more than happy to give all delegates from political parties that have a conference in Manchester a free travel pass. This should hopefully encourage some of them to stay outside of Manchester and the city centre in particular, if we can get a few hundred Tories to get on a tram at Eccles then that's great because then they can see what the Labour scumbags that run this city have done to it, maybe they could then tell fat Eric who could do something about it??? As the Star point out it's a tiny fraction of the overall budget. But basically they are doing it for the Tories because they did it for the Labour scumbags when they had a party up here many years ago. Hats off to the Tories for coming back to Gtr Manchester when Labour deserted us in favor of Brighton, along with the Greens, oh we will not talk about the Libs who have legged it over the border to Scotland. GREAT come all ye Tories and see what socialism does for us up in Salford, if that will not confirm your convictions nothing will.
not happy wrote
at 11:58:49 AM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
at 10:02:29 AM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
This is disgraceful and unacceptable . The sickening scum who made the decision to throw OUR money away at the millionaire Thatcherite scum must be identified and sacked immediately .
Bernard Brough wrote
at 6:13:28 AM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
What the fuck is Salford Metropolitan Council?
Christine Melsom wrote
at 3:52:15 AM on Tuesday, September 24, 2013
So, were they complimentary or did the Conservative delegates ask for them. If it is the former, then Salford Metropolitan Council may be at fault here. It says that both Labour and Conservatives have been issued with these travelcards in the past so why does the Green Party opt to scream foul on this occasion? Politics. Are they hoping that they may play a minor part in the next Government? I think they are clutching at straws. No chance.
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