Calderdale school bus pass axe moves closer

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Plans to scrap free bus passes for 400 Calderdale children have moved a step closer.

Council leaders intend to stop providing them for pupils who currently go to church schools and those, living mainly in the Northowram and Shelf area, who chose to go to Calderdale schools despite living closer to schools in Bradford.

Hundreds of parents have signed petitions, particularly opposing the cross boundary changes, which have been voted through by the cabinet and will go to the full council meeting in February for final approval.

Conservative group leader Coun Stephen Baines (Northowram and Shelf) said the change was particularly unfair to parents in his ward. “I know it is considered an affluent area but many people have costs which they struggle to cope with and it is unfair to them to change the rules so that the council can save such a relatively small amount of money.”

The cabinet was told last night that every child with a free bus pass would be allowed to keep it until they finished school but from the summer of 2014 no new passes would be issued.

The council’s Labour leader Tim Swift (Town) said it would be unfair to continue making passes available just to people in Northowram and Shelf.

Councillor Asley Evans (Lib-Dem, Warley) said free passes would continue for low income families, in line with statutory requirements. The changes are expected to save the council up to £62,000 over five years.