Wednesday, 7 March 2012


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Cut travel subsidies for pupils at faith schools
Leicestershire County Council is currently consulting on part of its "Austerity Budget" (Mercury February 23), one aspect of which relates to the subsidies it provides for transport.
The consultation closes on April 2 and the documentation can be found on the county council's website.
Cuts in subsidies are being considered for both travel by the disabled and for home-to-school transport for children attending their nearest church school on denominational grounds.
The consultation document says: "Students currently contribute £240 per year towards their travel. The full cost of providing each seat is £490 per year.
"Leicestershire County Council currently pays a subsidy of £250 per seat, per year for around 1,000 pupils. This costs us £250,000 per year.
"Leicestershire County Council has a duty to take into account the wishes of parents on the grounds of religion or belief, but there is no duty to provide free or subsidised transport (except for children from qualifying low income families)."
I believe the subsidy for children from religious families, which is not available to those outside the favoured denominations, is wrong and should be withdrawn, rather than cut help for the disabled.
The subsidy will only be removed from better off families.
Your readers might like to make their views known by completing the consultation document on the county council's website.
John R Catt, Loughborough

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