Newport pupils could get fund help for bus fares

First published in Gwent news

A HARDSHIP fund for Newport students affected by a three-fold hike in bus fees has been mooted by the city’s cabinet member for education.

Yesterday the Argus reported that students travelling to Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool must pay £347 a year for transport to sixth form, up from just £80 the previous year.

However, the Argus understands that by 2017, post-16 students will be expected to pay the full £600 per year for bus travel when a council subsidy ends.

In response, Councillor Debbie Wilcox said: “The council has had to make some difficult decisions in recent years, and as a former secondary school teacher I have our children’s educational welfare at the heart of my work every day.

“There is never a right time to increase prices, and we understand central austerity measures are causing hardships to our residents and pupils too.

“That is why I will oversee a phased implementation of this programme which means that the current level of subsidy is not removed in full until September 2017,” she said.

“I will also be looking at a hardship fund for those students who are most affected by the changes.”

In a statement, the council said it is “only fair” for all pupils to pay the same amount to access post-16 education and that an increase in costs “could cause financial hardship for some families”.

“This change in fees had to be made as part of Newport council’s requirement to save £25 million over three years, and was one of over 100 savings implemented for this financial year,” said the statement, citing a cut in funding from the UK Government handed down to Welsh Government.

“The council is committed to providing the best affordable services but could no longer continue to subsidise the school transport service by £91,000 a year, and even with these changes post-16 students will still be subsidised by around £42,000 a year,” said the statement.

All post-16 students who qualify for financial help with home-to-school transport can get a travel grant of £150 per academic year but must still pay £347 to cover the rest of the cost.

However the true cost as calculated by the council’s passenger transport team is up to £750.

Comments (14)

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10:33pm Sat 19 Jul 14

mvaone says...

Well there you go more cuts in subsidies, next to come will be bus service cuts and price rises to keep the councillors in high wages.
Well there you go more cuts in subsidies, next to come will be bus service cuts and price rises to keep the councillors in high wages. mvaone
  • Score: 0

8:37am Sun 20 Jul 14

Woodgnome says...

Did NCC consult parents about this change? If not they have made some pretty draconian price increases without having any idea of the impact - which surely cannot be right.
Did NCC consult parents about this change? If not they have made some pretty draconian price increases without having any idea of the impact - which surely cannot be right. Woodgnome
  • Score: -4

8:57am Sun 20 Jul 14

landyman3030 says...

People need to remember this one of many cuts made by the WAG next year at the election. They had the funds to give Wales a freeze on tax and chose to spend it elsewhere. They won't back track on free prescriptions and charge a nominal fee of a pound a script which would put millions back into the NHS. How many buses would the 50,000,000 pounds that the airport cost? The 30,000,000 pounds at least promised to the racetrack? What local services are going to disappear when they BORROW 1,000,000,000,000 quid? Get used to the cuts because if they keep, we are up to our ears in debt forever. There won't be buses soon.
People need to remember this one of many cuts made by the WAG next year at the election. They had the funds to give Wales a freeze on tax and chose to spend it elsewhere. They won't back track on free prescriptions and charge a nominal fee of a pound a script which would put millions back into the NHS. How many buses would the 50,000,000 pounds that the airport cost? The 30,000,000 pounds at least promised to the racetrack? What local services are going to disappear when they BORROW 1,000,000,000,000 quid? Get used to the cuts because if they keep, we are up to our ears in debt forever. There won't be buses soon. landyman3030
  • Score: 5

9:25am Sun 20 Jul 14

rogiemassive says...

Black friday wiped billions from the government coffers set up to finance pension payments. National insurance payments being made now by the tax payer is now funding todays pension payments, this inturn is in part why we are now having to arrange our own pension funds and pay into on top of national insurance. Simple answer to this problem, split the funding between free pensioners bus passes and school bus passes.
Black friday wiped billions from the government coffers set up to finance pension payments. National insurance payments being made now by the tax payer is now funding todays pension payments, this inturn is in part why we are now having to arrange our own pension funds and pay into on top of national insurance. Simple answer to this problem, split the funding between free pensioners bus passes and school bus passes. rogiemassive
  • Score: -4

12:11pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Monmouthshire Merlin says...

Only last week WAG found another £1.8 Million to spend on the Welsh Language. Like any budget, it's a matter of priorities.
WAG and labour in the 'Bay of plenty' need to appreciate and engage with the populous and ask what we want!
Only last week WAG found another £1.8 Million to spend on the Welsh Language. Like any budget, it's a matter of priorities. WAG and labour in the 'Bay of plenty' need to appreciate and engage with the populous and ask what we want! Monmouthshire Merlin
  • Score: -1

1:19pm Sun 20 Jul 14

debb1369 says...

I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!!
I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!! debb1369
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Sun 20 Jul 14

MOORE_MICHAEL7 says...

my grandchildren go to Bassaleg School, up to now they have received free bus passes but from this year the middle child will still receive free pass, the youngest to go there this September and the oldest who is going to be doing his A levels, will both have to pay to use the same bus to and from school, still the same distance from school, doesn't make sense
my grandchildren go to Bassaleg School, up to now they have received free bus passes but from this year the middle child will still receive free pass, the youngest to go there this September and the oldest who is going to be doing his A levels, will both have to pay to use the same bus to and from school, still the same distance from school, doesn't make sense MOORE_MICHAEL7
  • Score: -1

1:35pm Sun 20 Jul 14

rogiemassive says...

debb1369 wrote:
I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!!
If this is right as a point of law then this should be taken up with MP Paul Flynn and AM Rosemary Butler.
[quote][p][bold]debb1369[/bold] wrote: I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!![/p][/quote]If this is right as a point of law then this should be taken up with MP Paul Flynn and AM Rosemary Butler. rogiemassive
  • Score: 0

3:05pm Sun 20 Jul 14

debb1369 says...

rogiemassive wrote:
debb1369 wrote:
I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!!
If this is right as a point of law then this should be taken up with MP Paul Flynn and AM Rosemary Butler.
Trying to get an answer from council members is futile. I contacted my local councillor first, he hasn't bothered to reply. I have just emailed the councillor in this article to see what she says. The WAG told me it is the law
[quote][p][bold]rogiemassive[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]debb1369[/bold] wrote: I have argued with the council about the 600% increase but they do not care. I have contacted the Welsh Assembly and whilst they can't help either they have advised that NCC had to announce their intentions by 1st October 2013. As a parent the first I heard about this was May this year, the council said they do not have to give notice but this is a lie as by law, they had to publish their intention by 1st October last year. I can't find anything being published by the deadline!!![/p][/quote]If this is right as a point of law then this should be taken up with MP Paul Flynn and AM Rosemary Butler.[/p][/quote]Trying to get an answer from council members is futile. I contacted my local councillor first, he hasn't bothered to reply. I have just emailed the councillor in this article to see what she says. The WAG told me it is the law debb1369
  • Score: -1

9:21pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Bobevans says...

mvaone wrote:
Well there you go more cuts in subsidies, next to come will be bus service cuts and price rises to keep the councillors in high wages.
There is at least one Newport bus service being cut at the end of August and that the 62 Newport – Caldicot/Caerwent. It is possible another operate will take it over but I am not aware of any company interested in taking it over at presnt
[quote][p][bold]mvaone[/bold] wrote: Well there you go more cuts in subsidies, next to come will be bus service cuts and price rises to keep the councillors in high wages.[/p][/quote]There is at least one Newport bus service being cut at the end of August and that the 62 Newport – Caldicot/Caerwent. It is possible another operate will take it over but I am not aware of any company interested in taking it over at presnt Bobevans
  • Score: -1

9:25pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Bobevans says...

MOORE_MICHAEL7 wrote:
my grandchildren go to Bassaleg School, up to now they have received free bus passes but from this year the middle child will still receive free pass, the youngest to go there this September and the oldest who is going to be doing his A levels, will both have to pay to use the same bus to and from school, still the same distance from school, doesn't make sense
The council only has to provide free transport if a child lives over 2 miles from a Primary school or 3 miles from a secondary school. In some cases in the past some councils improved on the mandatory requirement most have now with drawn any discretionary schemes
[quote][p][bold]MOORE_MICHAEL7[/bold] wrote: my grandchildren go to Bassaleg School, up to now they have received free bus passes but from this year the middle child will still receive free pass, the youngest to go there this September and the oldest who is going to be doing his A levels, will both have to pay to use the same bus to and from school, still the same distance from school, doesn't make sense[/p][/quote]The council only has to provide free transport if a child lives over 2 miles from a Primary school or 3 miles from a secondary school. In some cases in the past some councils improved on the mandatory requirement most have now with drawn any discretionary schemes Bobevans
  • Score: 0

9:24am Mon 21 Jul 14

Woodgnome says...

I think Bob Bright and cohort must be down marking all these comments!! No other rational person would do so.

deb makes a good point - in other words there was NO consultation.
I think Bob Bright and cohort must be down marking all these comments!! No other rational person would do so. deb makes a good point - in other words there was NO consultation. Woodgnome
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Mr Bump. says...

I don't see why i should subsidise peoples children to travel to Pontypool to be educated in Welsh. If they want their children educated this way, they should pay for them to travel there.
I don't see why i should subsidise peoples children to travel to Pontypool to be educated in Welsh. If they want their children educated this way, they should pay for them to travel there. Mr Bump.
  • Score: 1

11:13pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Crazydad says...

The same is happening for pupils travelling to St Josephs RC High School, yet I see no action or interest from Cllr Wilcox or any other elected member from Newport or Momouthshire.
The same is happening for pupils travelling to St Josephs RC High School, yet I see no action or interest from Cllr Wilcox or any other elected member from Newport or Momouthshire. Crazydad
  • Score: -1

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