Mark Jewell

Liberal Democrat campaigner working for Ashton, Larches, Savick and Lea Learn more

“Outrageous” Attack on Vulnerable

by markjewell on 13 February, 2012

Liberal Democrats on Lancashire County Council have angrily criticised proposals to charge disabled students for transport.

Leader of the Lib Dem Group, County Councillor Bill Winlow, described the proposals as “outrageous”.

The Conservative Council are currently consulting on plans to introduce a means tested contribution towards the cost of transport support for students with special educational needs and disabilities aged 16-24. The consultation runs to 27th March.

Under the proposals each student will be charged £1,000 for transport to school/college of more than 3 miles distance from home and £1,200 where the distance is greater than 8 miles. For those on qualifying benefits the contribution would be reduced to half.

CC Bill Winlow said, “We all recognise that there are some really tough decisions that have had to be made to tackle the financial mess left by Labour. However, this proposal attacks the most vulnerable within our society. Within the Lib Dem alternative budget we would continue to fund these transport costs as they currently stand. Whereas the Conservatives are reflecting a £1.2m saving each year within their budget before the consultation has ended. It is a matter of prioritising the most vulnerable.”

Lib Dem spokesman, County Councillor Mark Jewell added, “Whilst we agree with the general principle of capping benefits, as the government are proposing, we believe special educational needs and disabilities incur costs above normal household expenditure. This cost should not fall on those families who already give so much of their time and love caring for their young people. The Lib Dem group entirely disagree with means testing these transport costs”.

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