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SALFORD COUNCIL SET TO U-TURN ON DISABLED CHILDREN TRANSPORT CHARGES
 

Star date: 3rd April 2018

CHARGES FOR DISABLED CHILDREN TRANSPORT TO NURSERY DROPPED BUT CHARGES TO BE IMPOSED FOR DISABLED 16-19 YEAR OLDS

"...families with a child with complex needs are already in financial hardship..."

Salford City Council is set to drop a proposal to charge parents of disabled children for transport to nurseries – but is set to impose transport charges on disabled 16-19 year olds attending college.

The results of a consultation on the charges showed 86% of those who responded disagreeing with the nursery transport proposals, and 76% disagreeing with the college transport proposals.

Full details here...


Last year, Salford City Council was all set to impose a £510 transport charge for both disabled children going to nursery and for disabled 16-19 year olds attending college. This, despite Deputy Mayor, John Merry, assuring parents the previous year that "There are no new cuts and no changes to what is provided to you...There are no proposals to change people's arrangements..." (see previous Salford Star article – click here)

A consultation with parents on making charges followed late last year (see here). The results have now been published, and of those who responded, 86% disagreed with the charges for transport for nursery children, while 76% disagreed with the charges for college students.

The reaction by parents of nursery children was generally one of horror..."Lots of families with children with disabilities live in poverty and rely on benefits"..."I think it is abhorrent"..."We oppose this proposal as we consider it discriminatory"

The City Mayor, Paul Dennett, has now dropped this proposal, possibly in light of the current outcry over the potential closure of five Council nurseries, and possibly reflecting tensions between elected politicians and paid officers.

However, the Mayor is set to impose charges for transporting 16-19 year old young disabled people attending college who either have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a disability.

Of those parents who responded to the consultation for these charges, well over one third had financial concerns, while others had concerns about safety and non-attendance at college...

"Children often have additional costs to meet their needs without adding extra costs and burdens. I feel £510 is too high"..."As it is a known fact that many families with a child with complex needs are already in financial hardship due to the difficulties many parents have in working"... "Ultimately the children's education would suffer..."

Families on low incomes would 'only' have to pay £255 a year (although 'low income' isn't defined), while the Council is to put in place a 'programme of independent travel training', which it also did when it cut adult transport a few years ago. There's been no subsequent public report on the success or otherwise of this scheme.

The Council also states that it will "Empower parents, carers and young people to find creative solutions to their transport needs e.g. by the use of direct payments..."

In the consultation responses on this, some parents just didn't understand what the Council was on about, while others stated:

..."This will be just another thing for the students and their families in this situation to worry about and frankly I think it is a worry they could well do without..."..."I would have to travel with my daughter to school and return home twice each day, she would be unable to do this on her own. This would increase the costs..."

Even the Council report going to Cabinet states that there are major potential risks... "this may lead to a drop in attendance for post 16 students with an EHCP"...and "Concerns regarding affects on low income families"...

However, the 'significant risk', according to the report is "that the required budget savings will not be made on these budget streams"...

Mary ferrer wrote
at 04:41:09 on 04 April 2018
Another U turn, if they carry on,they will meet themselves coming back.Parents have enough to worry about with children with special needs.this is just another thing to worry about.First the council say we are doing this then suddenly change their minds.this is people's lives they are messing about. We have the fiasco with the nurseries. Now transport. Anyone one would think there was an election coming up.they have proven they have the money for the nurseries. And now the change with transport.Do they really think people are that stupid.Or do they really not know what they are doing
 
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