Decision on post 16 transport charges in Northumberland stands

Northumberland County Council's decision to bring back transport charges for students in post-16 education will stand, after a motion failed

Parents and students protest outside County Hall Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland

A controversial decision to bring back travel charges for Northumberland students in post-16 education is to stand after a bid to get it reviewed narrowly failed.

Northumberland County Council’s policy board’s recent decision to charge its young people going to schools and colleges for transport will not be referred back to it for reconsideration after a motion from the Conservative opposition group seeking that course of action was defeated today by 34 votes to 30.

Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
 

Charges were scrapped by the Liberal Democrats when they ran the council in 2008.

Yet the Labour run council’s board recently decided to bring back fees, of in some cases £600, blaming multi-million pound Government cuts.

The decision provoked an angry response from parents, pupils and opposition councillors who accused the council of discriminating against families in rural areas, with over 1,200 joining a Facebook group and protests staged outside an Alnwick school last month and at Seahouses earlier this.

Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
 

The issue has even reached the House of Commons with David Cameron and senior minister Eric Pickles joining in the criticism of the council.

A further protest was staged outside an extraordinary meeting of the council this morning, attended by scores of parents and children, bearing banners.

And after a four-hour meeting, with questions from members of the public and councillors and a lengthy debate, the Tory motion was narrowly defeated.

Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
Parents and students protest outside County Hall, Morpeth against future transport cuts for schools in Northumberland
 

Afterwards, Elisabeth Lamont, 16, from Rothbury, who asked a question during the meeting about how she faces having to pay £770 to get to King Edward VI High School at Morpeth while her friends from the town get there for free, voiced her disappointment.

“I think it is unfair. I think education is important and I really value it that I get the chance to go to school for free.”

Read more on the row over transport charges for those in post 16 education

Keep politics out of our children's futures, urge parents in Northumberland

Row over school transport charges in Northumberland reaches new heights

Northumberland head apologises for promoting opposition to post-16 transport charges

Council calls meeting on back of ministerial criticism

Schools minister asked to look into Northumberland students transport charges

Tories call for suspension of Northumberland transport charges decision

Hexham MP accuses Northumberland County Council of being "undemocratic" for cancelling meeting

Tories demand council meeting over transport charges for Northumberland students

Row over cancelled Northumberland County Council meeting in wake of protest

Parents stage protest over school transport charges in Northumberland

Protest over Northumberland student transport charges

Wooler schoolgirl slams Northumberland County Council over transport charge

Kirkley Hall College leader hits out at plans to scrap free school buses

Transport plan for over-16s in Northumberland facing criticism

Northumberland County Council bosses seek to keep free transport for students

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer