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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/471/2002

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 January 2007

Save our school buses

BRIDGEND COUNCIL in south Wales are planning yet again to try and cut free transport to primary and secondary schools.

Councillors want to abolish free transport completely for students aged 16 and over. They are demanding younger secondary school students prove they live over three miles away to travel for free.

Ross Saunders

In the case of some schools, including the new secondary school planned for Maesteg, this will mean that almost no-one will qualify for free school transport.

Incredibly, the council says that the real reasons it is making these cuts are environmental and health-related. They argue that fewer buses on the road and more kids walking to school would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help combat childhood obesity. But expecting children to spend over an hour walking three miles to school first thing in the morning and an hour walking three miles back at the end of the day is ludicrous, particularly during the winter months.

There will inevitably be an increase in the number of parents driving their kids to school, which will increase, rather than reduce, the effect on the environment.

The council plans to start charging pupils to travel on the school buses if they don't qualify under the new rules. Current plans expect parents to pay 6 a week, hitting the less well-off hard.

It's pretty clear that the council's real motive is financial. The Wales Assembly is forcing the council to "find savings" - this means "make cuts" - of 5 million.

Despite council claims that they'll spend these "savings" on schools, the schools budget for the next two years is also facing cuts. Meanwhile the new chief executive enjoys an annual salary of 125,000, and the council regularly pays consultants fees of 30,000 to make decisions for them.

The fairest, most efficient way of getting kids to schools is on a free bus service which is fully paid-for by central government funds.

By backing these cuts, the Lib Dems and Conservatives who lead Bridgend council are showing that they're no different from both the previous Labour council and the current Labour-led Assembly. The Socialist Party believes that councillors and Assembly members should oppose these cuts and campaign to defend and improve our public services, not wring their hands while undermining them.

We will be lobbying the council on 25 January.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 January 2007:

Striking to defend public services

Trade unions must give a lead


War and terrorism

Iraq: build for 24 February protest

'No to the US base'


Socialist Party news and analysis

Labour's super-rich friend

Behind the bonus bonanza

Save our school buses

Support the paper that fights for a socialist future


Big Brother

Big Brother viewers reject racist bullying

New Labour hypocrites wade into Big Brother row

Endemol defends racist abuse


Workplace news and analysis

Strike ballots show willingness to fight

British Airways in more battles with workforce

London Underground workers ballot for strike over pay


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS still needs national demo

New Labour leads the big-business assault

A socialist programme for the NHS


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

When will the bubbles burst?


Socialist Students

Join the national day of protest on 22 February

Building for the 22 February Day of Action


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: anti-war organiser attacked

Workers brave regime's bullets


 

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