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School transport cuts – Suffolk County Council consultation
There are issues with existing school transport – especially for over 16’s. Nonetheless, Suffolk County Council’s current policies do go above minimum legal requirements, “with around 2400 children and young people receiving free/subsided school or post-16 travel that we are not legally required to provide, and around 2400 children receiving free travel to schools further away than legally required. ” In an attempt to save money the Council is looking to change what it offers. Their consultation seeks views on options to change these policies. You can access the consultation materials here
The consultation questions talk of making changes so that things are ‘in line with legal requirements ‘ – a form of words designed to sound as though it might be making things better, whereas in fact it will be making things worse! Some children may be forced to change schools. In future, families reliant on school buses won’t have the choices open to other children. Some schools may be come non-viable. The Council doesn’t seem to be thinking about the the wider educational and social consequences of proposed changes. CSNI LP thinks that fair and safe access to education should be a high priority.
The Consultation closes on 28 February
Pressure from the Labour Party and others has already forced some changes in the government’s plans for implementation of Universal Credit. But lots of concerns remain, including it’s impact on people in irregular and low paid employment, and on access to free school meals. We’ll be keeping up the pressure – UC is due for roll out in and around Ipswich in the next couple of months.
Ipswich and Colchester hospitals
Plans to merge services are controversial. If they don’t include proper investment in transport infrastructure and transport services, then they risk making it even harder – and more expensive – for people to get to their appointments, or to visit family in hospital.
If you live in the north of our constituency and don’t have your own transport then accessing specialist services in Colchester could be quite a challenge – and very time consuming. If you have concerns you want to raise, please get in touch using the Contact Us button.
We’ll be campaigning for the issue of access to be taken very seriously when considering any possible clinical benefits of a merger.
We are also concerned that the Mental Health Services in Suffolk and Norfolk are once again in special measures. Get in touch if you have information about the impact of inadequate mental health provision locally.