Proposed transport charges for post-16 students accessing further education courses by bus and train have been labelled a ‘teenage tax’ by Conservatives.
The Labour-led administration at Northumberland County Council is looking at the possibility of imposing a £450 charge for travel which is currently free.
Further proposals include cuts for support for youth services in all parts of the county as well as the winding down of the Employability and Skills service.
“We just cannot believe that the county council is planning to pull the rug from the young people who are to be the future of our county,” said Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland Conservatives.
“This new charge for Post 16 transport is going to be a heavy burden for families in Northumberland, particularly those who live in remote, rural areas.”
He said the total saving proposed for the post-16 School transport amounts to £1.8 million per year but claims vast sums are still being wasted at County Hall.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick, added: “I am appalled that the Labour/Independent councillors are willing to compromise the future of our young people by forcing them to pay transport costs for post-16 travel.
“We fought against Labour on this very issue back in 2008 to try to stop them cutting off students from educational options at 16.
“There is no further education college in Berwick, Amble, Wooler or Alnwick: our students have to travel for courses in Ashington or Newcastle.
“Our young people deserve a better deal from this Labour administration.”