Despite nearly every member of the county council having his or her say, the testimony that really resonated was from the affected parents.
And perhaps the most powerful question came from Rothbury resident Elisabeth Lamont, at the meeting with her mother Allison, who simply asked, ‘Is this fair?’
A pupil of King Edward VI School, in Morpeth, going into Sixth Form in September, she referred to the fact that she will have to pay £530 for a reduced-fare bus ticket while her friends in the town are being charged nothing.
Speaking to the Gazette after the meeting, Mrs Lamont said: “We were definitely disappointed that the council weren’t prepared to give it more thought. A lot of the information we need as parents is not available currently and I feel it should have been made available on May 31 when the policy was launched and they need to really pull their act together in terms of making things available.
“My daughter is going to be penalised financially for living rurally.”
“We don’t know yet what’s the best or what’s the most financially efficient way to get her to school in September, but we do know that she will be paying more than her peers who are living in urban situations and that’s inequality when it’s supposed to be equal.”
Elisabeth added that she was worried about the possible financial strain on her parents as one of three children who will be affected by the changes to the scheme.