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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Shameful: Tories vote "to make no comment" as parents face school travel chaos

March 24, 2022 10:48 AM
By Antony Hook

Yesterday (23/3/22) Kent County Council's Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the decision by the Conservative Cabinet to whack up the cost of school travel in Kent.

About 14,000 children have a Kent Travel Pass for which their parents pay £370 per year so they can get to school by bus. Several thousand more children have a pass at a reduced price as they come from a low income family.

The whole community in Kent has been schocked by the callous decision by Kent Conservatives to increase the price by 21% to £470.

The Conservatives have also admitted they considered scrapping the pass entirely and may do so next year.

At Kent's budget meeting Liberal Democrats proposed stopping the price increase by using a small portion of over £4 million the council will get from shares it owns. This income, which belongs to the people of Kent, is not currently allocated to be used in any way.

Kent Lib Dem Leader Antony Hook said,

"There actions show Kent Conservatives don't care about children or parents facing increasing bills. They are making a free choice to make life harder and more expensive for ordinary families."

The price increase was reviewed by Kent's Scrutiny Committee yesterday.

In further shocking admissions officials said that no estimate had been made for:

  • how many parents will switch to car use to get their children to school, or
  • what the environmental impact of these extra car journeys will be.

It was also revealed that there is no equality monitoring data collected so the council does not know how many disabled children will be affected.

Liberal Democrats proposed the the decision should be reconsidered and that modelling should be done and equality monitoring data collected.

However, the Conservative majoirty of the committee voted on partisan lines to "make not comment about the decision."

Mr Hook said,

"We see yet again that Conservative members will protect each other with "no comment" rather than push for the interests of ordinary families in Kent."

END.