Lincolnshire

Row over Lincolnshire pupils' £22,000-a-year taxi fares

A Lincolnshire local authority has been criticised for paying £22,000 a year in taxi fees to transport three students to a college in a neighbouring county.

Lincolnshire County Council said the money allowed three people to study animal management in Cambridgeshire at a course not available locally.

It costs £125 a day for the 100-mile (160km) return trip to West Anglia College.

The Taxpayers' Alliance said the cost was not "value for taxpayers' money".

'No public transport'

County councillor Patricia Bradwell said the aim was to help children in rural areas to get access to education.

"We have a real issue in Lincolnshire because we don't have a good system of buses - they live in a rural area in the south of the county.

"How would the young people get to college to get the qualifications and then get a job?

"They live in a small community with no public transport at all."

Emma Boon, campaign director of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "This is a huge amount of money to spend transporting just a handful of students.

"Relying long term on taxis to cover a 100-mile-a-day journey doesn't represent value for taxpayers' money.

"The distances involved in rural commutes can make things more expensive but the council needs to find ways of bringing these costs down."

The students pay £298 a year towards the cost of the transport and this will rise to £390 this September.

The council spends a total of almost £35m a year on transporting children in the county to and from school, a county spokesman said.

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