Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lincs Tories force through cuts to home-school transport...

First meeting back from holidays this morning was a bad-tempered affair as I led a hopeless attempt at preventing the Tories who control Lincolnshire County Council from cutting entitlement of home-to-school transport for hundreds of our young people.

Despite widespread opposition, the Tories stuck their heads in the sand and pressed ahead with their cuts which frankly, are just plain daft.

As posted HERE, in February, they have decided to

* Scrap entitlement to help with travel costs when a child moves home in an exam year but wants to finish a course of education at their current school.

* Raise cash from children who live within two or three miles of their school and don't legally qualify for free transport. They will be charged £190 a year to use 'spare seats' on school buses which more than 500 children currently get for free.

* end entitlement to subsidised travel where parents exercise their right to send their children to a faith school. (The County Council will continue to pay the full costs of transport for those who similarly exercise their right to attend a Grammar School which appears to be discriminatory to me).

* Raise more cash by increasing travel charges to students who stay on at school or college after the age of 16 to £190 a year. (Despite Lincolnshire having the lowest staying-on rate in the country).

Three hours bashing our collective heads against the wall doing the impossible: trying to make Tories see sense.

Most refused even to attempt to justify or defend their cuts or engage in debate.
The only contribution in three hours for example from the Tory Chief Whip Martin Trollope-Bellew (Tallington) and former Council Chairman Colin Helstrip (Stamford) was a lengthy point of order to try to stop me asking questions about their daft plan.

Asking questions and holding them to account was of course, the whole point of the call-in.

Not one member of the so-called Scrutiny Committee spoke in favour of the cuts.

Rather than listen to reasoned argument and attempt to justify their actions, many Tories seemed to be there simply to steam-roller opposition and vote through the Executive's plan.

Which they did en-bloc.

Same old Tories.

(more later maybe...)

1 comment:

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Nice to hear that your'e back Phil!