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26 November 2013, 07:24
Norfolk County Council is proposing to reduce the travel subsidy for students aged between 16 and 19.
The council currently supports the travel of approximately 3,450 students to go to their nearest sixth form or college, costing the council £2.9 million.
At the moment, students pay £468 per year towards their travel costs and this would increase to between £800 and £850. Low income families pay £351 a year, this would become between £600 and £638.
This comes as Norfolk County Council announced that they need to make savings of £189 million over the next three years. The plans include charging people to take things to the tip, to do less road maintenance and to also cut funding for the coastal bus.
By reducing the subsidy of travel for further education, the County Council hope to save £1 million in 2014/2015 and an additional £1 million in 2015/2016.
Due to a change in law, pupils who left school in summer 2013 now have to remain in education or training until they are 17-years-old. Pupils leaving in summer 2014 will have to stay until the age of 18. This means that the proposed increase will impact a larger portion of the county’s families.
Norfolk County Council said that they have a legal duty to publish an annual policy statement that says what transport arrangements will be put in place to support all 16-19 year olds to get education or training but there is no duty to provide financial support for college transport.
Norfolk County Council were unavailable to comment on these travel cuts, but David Harrison, Cabinet member for Environment, Transport, Development and Waste did say this earlier:
“I don’t expect these proposals to be popular, but sadly they are necessary. Having said that, I would be delighted in the Panel debate or our consultation brought forward other, easier options, which is why I would encourage everyone to take part before it closes on Thursday 12 December 2013”
The proposed cuts will be discussed by Members today at the meeting of the Environment, Transport and Development Overview and Scrutiny Panel at County hall.
The Council are urging people to get involved in the debate before it closes. To have your say, visit the Norfolk County Council website and follow the link for ‘Norfolk: Putting People First.’