Parents’ protest over student transport move

Angry parents will stage a peaceful protest over a decision that could see students pay £600 a year in travel costs.

The demonstration will be held at County Hall on Friday following Northumberland County Council’s decision to scrap free travel for post-16 students.

The protest will take place before an extraordinary meeting of the authority at 9.30am, which has been called by local Conservative members after the scheduled July meeting was cancelled.

It will include a motion to suspend the student transport decision and carry out more consultation with those affected by it.

Last week members of the public pressure group Parents Against The Decision To Scrap Free Post 16 Transport met senior council officers to express their concern about the lack of engagement with people on the issue.

The group had requested a meeting with Council Leader Grant Davey, but said it did not receive a substantive reply and was told he was too busy.

Member Allison Joynson said: “While I appreciate the officers taking the time to meet with us, and the fact that finally a dialogue has begun, it became quickly apparent that the Labour Administration is not prepared to serious consider revisiting this discriminatory policy.

“It was evident from the discussions that the council had no real appreciation of the huge impact on the people of Northumberland, especially those from rural areas.”

Northumberland Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson said: “Labour has made a huge mistake with this teenage tax and we are asking it to re-visit this decision at the extraordinary meeting.”

The parents’ protest will begin at 8am.