Salford City Council has made changes to its school and college transport policies.
The council’s Cabinet met to go through the results of a consultation with parents, schools and the public after initial proposals were put on the table. Information was sent to 1,000 people potentially affected.
This year there is a projected £1.071m overspend on transport, whilst £11.2million has been cut from the overall budget.
The Cabinet has required that each application will be assessed on an individual basis and satisfied that concerns raised through the consultation have been taken seriously. Transport support for the most vulnerable residents will continue to be provided and in line with the council’s statutory duties.
Following an extensive consultation, the council dropped a proposal to introduce a contribution for (SEN) transport for children under five years old with special educational needs (SEN) attending specialist provision. The decision was made after responses and feedback from the public. Where local authority transport is provided, this continues to be free of charge.
These proposals have been agreed after a projected £1.071m overspend on transport in a year that has seen a further £11.2million cut from the overall budget.
Charlotte Ramsden, Strategic Director for People at Salford City Council, said: “Salford was one of the few councils in Greater Manchester who offered fully-funded travel budgets for children with SEN. But with our budget situation, we have reluctantly agreed to review the transport so we can support those with the highest needs.
“It is a decision we do not want to make. But with our budget cuts, having lost £198million since 2010 – or £60,000 each and every day, we have to make changes.
“After going through the 47 responses to the consultation we will now ask parents of students aged 16-19 to make a contribution towards the cost of local authority transport, bringing us in line with other local authorities. Obviously not everybody will be able to afford this so we will work with each family to make sure no one is left without the means to fund travel costs.
“It is important to note, no SEN children aged between five and 16 years old who receive transport assistance are affected by the changes – their transport is free.”