Process to abolish post-16 transport charges under way

Northumberland County Council's administration has launched the process to reintroduce free transport for post-16 students.

Wednesday, 21st February 2018, 1:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st February 2018, 1:52 pm
Brought to you by the Berwick Advertiser team.

As previously reported, the Conservatives made provision in the proposed budget for 2018-19 to axe the unpopular charges, enabling them to meet a manifesto promise.

The council has allocated £1.4million in 2018-19 and £800,000 in 2019-20 to remove the £600-a-year charge, although students will still be required to pay a £50 administration fee.

As it represents a change to school transport policy, the reintroduction requires a formal consultation to take place. Following the sign-off at the county council’s cabinet meeting last Tuesday, this started on Monday and will run for six weeks until Friday, March 30.

This should enable the updated policy to be published by the end of May, meaning there will be no charges for the start of the academic year in September.

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Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “There is an absolute commitment to our manifesto pledge to end the teenage tax and an absolute commitment to ensure we have social mobility and access to education for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay a £600 tax.”

The cabinet agreed an amendment proposed by the scrutiny committee to include in the new policy that ‘the final decision on the granting of school transport funding lies at the discretion of the county council’.