Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands is joining Britain’s train companies in promoting the use of a half price rail discount card to get more jobseekers back on track and into work, as new research shows that journeys made using the card dropped by 20,700 in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, meaning that thousands of jobseekers could be missing out on major savings.

The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card gives holders a 50% discount on journeys across Britain and anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s) can apply through their Work Coach and local Jobcentre Plus.

Meanwhile Scotrail offers additional support in the form of two free return tickets a month to attend interviews and a free season ticket for the first month of a person’s return to work.

The drop in custom reflects a national trend which has seen usage of the card drop by nearly a third in the months March 2020-October 2021 – with over 62% of journeys taken using the card in London and the South East.

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group, said: “Over 40,000 journeys in Scotland were made during the pandemic by people using the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, but with the world of work opening back up and new opportunities becoming available, we want to encourage even more people to take advantage as they look to secure new jobs.

“The railway is a key part of Britain’s clean and fair recovery, and this discount card is yet another way that train companies are helping the country to bounce back.”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said: “Applying and interviewing for jobs can be an expensive business, and particularly so when a household depends on the disgracefully low levels of Universal Credit the UK Government have imposed on the poorest in society.

“Every bit of help for jobseekers is welcome, which is why I’m happy to back the Rail Delivery Group in getting the word out about the support on offer.

“Together with the extra help available here in Scotland via Scotrail, there are big savings to be made for people getting back into work, particularly in those first weeks where money is always tight.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they might qualify and benefit to speak to their Jobcentre and make sure they aren’t missing out on these deals.”