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difficult‖ position after announcing plans to slash its school transport budget by up to £6 million. Under the controversial new policy, only pupils


H


with a statutory entitlement will be provided with free travel to and from school. The new system starts in September 2012 and


School bus budget slashed by £6m ‘We don’t want


ertfordshire County Council has admitted leaving thousands of parents in a ―very


will see the sudden withdrawal of subsidised school transport from about 4,000 ―discretionary‖ school travellers. Faith schools will also no longer be entitled to free school transport. Frances Button, Executive Member for


Education and Skills, said it had been a tough decision, but that the difficult economic climate meant such cuts were ―vital‖. Executive Member for Highways and


Transport Stuart Pile said: ―We don‘t want parents to give up and stick their kids in the back of the car,‖ he said. ―We are constantly working with schools and


bus operators to help them replace the school bus routes that the council used to put on. By next year, many schools will be using


commercial bus routes and pupils will be able to take advantage of the saver card system.‖ County Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst


said concessions would be available to families who faced severe financial difficulties.


parents to give up


and stick their kids in the back of the car’ Stuart Pile


He said: ―Some council-funded buses will have


spare places so those families who are earning just above minimum wage but are still not earning enough will be able to apply for help and be protected.‖ Similar concessions would be available


students with special needs. ―Parents have been choosing schools which are


miles away, and the council has been picking up the tab for the transport (and) they won‘t be subsidised by the county any more‖. by Anna Brook


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