Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Victory against disabled transport cuts in Derby
Charlie Taylor, Derby Socialist Party
Derby City Labour council has scrapped plans to change the school transport arrangements for children with special needs.
The existing system ensures that vulnerable children are taken to schools using taxis arranged by the council door-to-door. The council planned to cut this service and instead give parents an allowance to get children to school.
Angry parents protested outside the council offices. In some cases it would have meant parents who don't drive having to take eight buses a day in order to get their children to school.
Some said they would have to give up work if the changes were made. The words of one of the leading organisers of the campaign expressed the feelings of millions of people around the country faced with similar cuts to services when she said "the plan would turn people's lives upside down".
She went on to say: "The people who have drawn up these plans have no concept of what life is like for the parents of special needs children".The original proposals were aimed at making a saving of £220,000 from a budget of £3.5 million for school travel in Derby.
These are the real consequences of cuts of £22 million announced earlier this year by the council. They were also forced to abandon the proposed closure of Moorways swimming pool planned for April this year.
The Labour leader of Derby council, Rangit Banwait, said he had been emotionally affected by the pleas of parents opposed to the changes.
If that is the case then the Labour-led council that saw an increase in its majority at the recent elections should use its reserves of £23 million to prevent any further cuts and build a campaign to get the money needed to maintain all services.
Derby TUSC campaigned against the closure of the swimming pool alongside workers and users. This forced the council to find the funds to keep the pool open. These campaigns show that cuts can be defeated.
It's clear that Labour will not fight the cuts as other services have been slashed. Only TUSC candidates stand on a programme of opposing all cuts and are prepared to do so, if elected.