Shropshire Council is planning to bump up the charges for travel to school by 68% to nearly £900 per year for most 17 and 18 year olds. With inflation at less than 2% that’s eye-watering.
The proposed charges from September 2014 are:
- Students from families not on defined benefits: £876 a year (previously £520)
- Students from families currently on defined benefits: £142.50 a year (previously free)
There’s a £30 annual administration charge too.
These proposals are unfair and short sighted. This is a low wage area. The new transport charges are significant amounts for any family and are likely to be unaffordable in many cases. A family on benefits will have to find more than £170 a year by cutting back on other expenditure.
If we want Shropshire to flourish we must do all we can to help our young people thrive. Access to post-16 education and training is vital to ensure that our young people have the skills for their future.
To hike charges and hinder access for those who can least afford it will perpetuate inequalities that weaken our society. If young people are denied the chance to meet their full potential, our economy and society will be the poorer for it.