Transport costs will hit disabled students

Education news
Education news
Share this article
Have your say

Disabled students from poor families will be spared from the brunt of new transport charges to school but hundreds more will have to pay a means tested charge

Lancashire County Council has come under fire for levying a £475 per year charge on over 16s with special needs who get help with their travel to and from their studies.

The cost-cutting move follows a public consultation exercise - which saw the bulk of respondents objecting to the plan.

An initial recommendation of an annual increase plus five percent was over-ruled and amended to an increase of just inflation.

Two days later, the cabinet member for Children, Young people and Schools, Matthew Tomlinson approved the original recommendation .

The Conservtive group is now asking for the decision to be called in by the scrutiny committee for further discussion.

Coun Christina Wakeford said: “We should be empowering young people with disabilities by helping them stay in education, not by putting barriers in the way such as this proposal is. This is nothing more than a tax on the disabled who wish to stay in education.”

Louise Taylor, the county’s interim executive director for children and young people, said: “Faced with the need to save £300,000,000 over the next four years, we are having to review all areas of our work and specifically reas that the authority is not required to fund.

“The report outlines clearly the recommendations based on the review of discretionary transport for over-16s with special educational needs and disability, which costs £2.74 m a year.

“This support is discretionary – we are not legally obliged to provide it. The consultation with parents, carers and young people has been extensive , and about a quarter of them responded.”

She added: “ will not be introduced until 2015.