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Changes to public transport ignore the impact on young and elderly

April 30, 2012 11:43 AM

Lib Dems have reacted with anger to the news that the Tory Administration at County Hall is to press ahead with huge increases in charges for school transport and the removal of all travel concessions except those they have to provide by law, despite strong opposition expressed during the recent public consultation exercise.

The Lib Dems believe that the proposals have ignored the impact on service users especially young people wishing to stay on at sixth form. During the consultation a massive 80% of respondents said they were against the proposal to make 16 and 17 year olds, continuing their education, meet the full cost of school transport. The group views this as unfair to hardworking families and is extremely concerned about the Tories long term intention to change entitlement to free home to school transport for all children to the nearest school regardless of whether this is their catchment area school. In terms of concessionary travel the additional services cost a relatively small amount considering the Council is sitting on reserves of over £87m.

Leader of the Opposition, Simon Galton said: "We remain committed to reinstating taxi tokens for people in rural areas without a bus service and peak hour disabled travel as we believe the cost of these concessions are low but the benefit to residents that use them is huge. I cannot explain to people in the area I represent that they have to do without these basic travel concessions when the leader of the Council can spend £210,000 on a chauffeur driven car.

"As for post 16 home to school travel, the intention to charge the full commercial cost when 80% of respondents have said they are opposed to this increase is simply unacceptable. Families are struggling at the moment and the proposed increase to £430 per student is massive. Its worth noting that freezing Council Tax since 2010 has saved the average family roughly £81.73, but an increase in transport charges to £430 would be 5 times greater than the saving from a Council Tax freeze over three years. At a time of inflation, low wage growth - the reality is that the Tories are costing hardworking families dearly in Leicestershire."

Ends

The £81.73 is worked out assuming that Council Tax would have increased by 2.5% since 2010, resulting in a Band D amount of £1144.73 for 2012. Taking the difference between that amount and the current Council Tax is £81.73

MTFS

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

CurrentCtax

2.5%

2.5%

2.5%

1062.9988

Amount

£26.57

£27.24

£27.92

Difference 2012 from current.

new Ctax

£1,089.57

£1,116.81

£1,144.73

£81.73