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Greg Mulholland campaigns to defend free school transport for faith school students

April 4, 2013 6:10 PM

GMMPSometimes, it's useful for us to be reminded that some Liberal Democrat MPs actively defend special subsidies for people of faith.

Greg Mulholland, LibDem MP for Leeds Northwest, has recently declared his opposition to the possible withdrawal of free school transport for most faith school students in Leeds:

http://gregmulholland.org/en/article/2013/672853/greg-mulholland-criticises-leeds-city-council-plans-to-stop-paying-for-home-to-school-transport-for-faith-school-pupils

In the article on his website, Greg Mulholland comments:

"I was shocked to hear that Leeds City Council were considering cutting free home to school transport for pupils of faith schools who live closer to a mainstream school.

"This decision unfairly discriminates against parents wishing to send their children to faith schools and I urge Leeds City Council to reconsider. It will also put further pressure on low and middle income families who will either be forced to find the money to cover the costs of transport or be forced to find a place in a new school which would be disruptive and unfair for parents and their children. There are also some concerns over the provisions for pupils of faith schools with disabilities and what effects these changes may have.

"I would urge anyone with concerns to contribute to the consultation on the Leeds City council website which closes on 27th March and to come along to the meeting tonight at St. Mary's Menston."

Faith school students of parents on low incomes would not actually be affected, as they would be still be entitled by law to free school transport. The consultation also includes the option of phasing out support so that there would be no disruption for existing students.

Greg Mulholland's article is only concerned with faith school students; there's no mention of other types of students who might lose their free school transport under the consultation options:

  • Over-16s going to the nearest mainstream schools and colleges, where these are over 3 miles away;
  • Over-16s with special educational needs (SEN);
  • Children who haven't been offered a place at any school within 3 miles and who haven't chosen the nearest school with places available.

The consultation has now been extended to Wednesday 24th April, and can be found at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Children-and-young-people-transport-review.aspx

Greg Mulholland has also recently explained why he did not vote in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading, on http://gregmulholland.org/en/page/marriage-same-sex-couples-bill