Leicester school principal criticises transport cuts plan

The principal of a school in Leicester has said he fears budget cuts to school transport would affect the city's most vulnerable children.

Marius Carney spoke out as a consultation opened on plans to reduce spending on the city council's travel provision for its pupils.

But Councillor Vi Dempster said only pupils who lived over three miles from their school would be affected.

The council said it spends £4.5m a year on home-to-school transport.

The consultation, which opened this week, concerns plans to reduce assistance the council is not legally obliged to provide, Councillor Dempster said.

'Between the eyes'

She said all discretionary provision could eventually be removed in the worst-case scenario.

Mr Carney, principal of English Martyrs' Catholic School, said: "I think it's going to hit disadvantaged families right between the eyes.

"Students want an excellent education, and they're prepared to travel across the city to get it. They want a helping hand to do so."

He added: "One of the consequences that we've noticed as a result of the reductions of subsidies in the last few years is that traffic outside our school has increased significantly.

"More and more people are operating lift shares. The council has all sorts of targets to get us on public transport, to reduce car emissions, to have a cleaner, healthier environment... instead of that we're almost doing the opposite."

Councillor Dempster said she knew bus fares were "very high" and said the council would continue to work with the bus companies over the issue.

The consultation is open until the middle of January, with any approved changes to take effect from September 2013.

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