Parents face bigger bill for school buses as subsidy could be axed

Rural bus service wher the Driver will  either have hands free facilities or stop to
deal with calls.
Rural bus service wher the Driver will either have hands free facilities or stop to deal with calls.
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Parents with children at faith schools face an increased bill for school transport.

Lancashire County Council has announced a consultation on removing the subsidy for transport to faith schools.

Parents already pay a contribution, but the council currently adds a £1.1m a year subsidy – which would now be axed.

For those currently travelling on a subsidised bus between 3 and 8 miles, the annual fee will go up from £505 to £540.

For those over 8 miles, it will go up to £692.

If they already travel on a commercial service, it will depend on the operator

It is intended that this policy will apply to new starters in September 2016, as well as to those who are currently in receipt of the discretionary subsidy (where parents pay the contribution).

Pupils from low income families who attend their nearest school on the grounds of parental faith and meet the distance criteria will continue by law to receive transport support.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “We face an unprecedented financial challenge as a result of relentless cuts in central government funding combined with a rising demand for our services, which means we’ve had to take a number of extremely difficult decisions.

“Unfortunately we’ve had no choice but to propose cutting a number of services that people value, because the council simply can’t afford to deliver them anymore.

“The provision of discretionary denominational transport is one of these services. I know that no one wants to either lose free transport or pay more for it, but unfortunately we are in the position of having to take these difficult decisions.

“I would encourage parents and other interested parties to take part in the consultation to tell us how they might be affected by this change.”

The consultation is open until 11.59pm on Sunday 10 April.

People can have their say at via the council’s website using the link https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=145442626666

Alternatively people can write and send their views to: Denominational Transport Consultation, Pupil Access Team, PO Box 61, County Hall, Preston PR1 8RJ.