Middlesbrough Council in free faith school travel cut plan

Middlesbrough Council is hoping to save £350,000 over six years by making cuts to free travel for faith school pupils.

Currently if parents choose a school which is not the nearest they have to pay for their own transport, unless it is a faith school.

To make savings the council is planning to only offer free faith school travel to new pupils on low incomes from 2013.

It is holding a public consultation into the plans and wants to hear views on the overhaul by 16 December.

Free travel to faith schools is only offered to pupils who want to attend for religious reasons.

'Major cuts'

The council said free travel would continue for pupils who already benefit from it while they remain at their current school or until their address changes.

The proposals would only affect new applicants.

The council does not pay transport costs for any faith school pupils if they are within walking distance of school; two miles for primary pupils and three for secondary.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: "The review is part of the wide-ranging budget reduction programme imposed on the council as major cuts are made to public expenditure.

"Many local authorities across the country have already withdrawn their discretionary denominational transport service, but it's important that we hear people's views before a decision is taken in Middlesbrough."

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