This week 30 years ago: MP Chris Smith fights Labour council colleagues over plans to remove free pensioner bus passes

Islington Gazette: November 20, 1987

Islington Gazette: November 20, 1987 - Credit: Archant

Islington Council was trying to take free bus passes away from pensioners.

They were up in arms over plans to charge them £5 a year, and voted unanimously to fight the town hall at a stormy meeting of Islington Pensioners’ Forum.

Their campaign was backed by Islington South and Finsbury MP Chris Smith, who pledged to oppose his colleagues on the Labour council.

He said: “It’s wrong in principle to charge for a pass. We established the need for completely free travel and that’s the way it should stay.”

The council planned the £5 charge as it needed to save £10million in its budget.

Meanwhile, popular district nurse Florence Jarman was retiring after 40 years of helping Islington patients.

Florence, 55, of Tufnell Park, worked at Highbury Grange Health Centre. The modest nurse had been awarded an MBE in 1985 and said: “I still feel that perhaps it was a mistake!”