York & North Yorkshire

Free buses to religious schools cut in North Yorkshire

Free buses for students who go to religious schools in North Yorkshire have been cut.

Parents will have to pay £350 annually for a child to use transport to get to school.

It will affect new students starting in September 2012, but 16-19 year olds with special needs will continue to travel for free to school or college.

North Yorkshire County Council said the decision would help it save £69m over the next four years.

Parents who choose to send their children to faith schools instead of closer non-religious schools will have to pay the annual charge.

Families with two or more children will pay a fee capped at £525 and students who have free school meals and live more than three miles from school will be exempt from the charge.

Councillor John Watson said it had given the council "no pleasure at all to take these steps" but that it had "tried to limit the impact on less well off families."

The council said there would be a review of all existing subsidised bus provision which could lead to a single charge of £350 per child by 2013.

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