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  • Writer's pictureDavid Taylor

Press Release: Opposition Budget Reverses SEND Transport Cuts

Opposition Budget Reverses SEND Transport Cuts


FOR IMMEDIATE USE


22 February 2024


 

Planned cuts to Havering's Special Educational Needs (SEND) school transport provision have been shown as avoidable by a newly submitted budget amendment.


A budget amendment, submitted by the Conservatives and East Havering Residents Group to be debated by Havering Council, has proposed reversing the planned cuts to Havering's Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) School transport provision.


Havering council's administration, a joint coalition between Labour and the Havering Resident's Association (HRA), has proposed slashing £200k from school transport provision for children with special educational needs (SEND). The plans propose, amongst other changes, that parents put vulnerable children into an Uber Cab rather than specialist transport and asks parents to take two or three children with special needs in one car. This comes following a controversial public consultation, criticised by parents across the borough. Parents have recently demonstrated against the cuts outside the town hall, and a recent motion to stop the cuts was voted against by Labour and HRA councillors.



Described by the administration necessary, due to budget constraints and a need to review the service periodically, the policy has come under criticism from opposition Councillors in both the Conservatives and East Havering Residents Group.


In a budget amendment, to be debated by Councillors on February 28th, both the Conservatives and EHRG have proposed to continue SEND transport funding at current levels, reversing the proposed cut.


The amendment has been confirmed as deliverable by senior Council Officers.


Cllr Keith Prince AM, Leader of Havering Conservatives said;


"The proposal to slash £200k from school transport provision for children with special educational needs is not justifiable, particularly when it directly impacts the well-being and access to education for these children. Plus putting extra stress and strain on their already overworked parents


The argument of budget constraints is not the reality and we owe it to our most vulnerable to support them to the best of our ability.


Our amendment means the services can continue with the funding they need, ensuring that every child has equal access to education"



Cllr Martin Goode, Leader of East Havering Resident's Group said;


'We fully support the requirements necessary for children with special educational needs (SEND). In particular the Havering's Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) School transport provision.


Our proposed Joint amendment to the Administrations 2024/25 Budget provisions, will address this issue and provide the necessary funding that is required to continue with this essential transport provision that is vitally needed by all that are impacted by this issue.'


END




Contact:


David Taylor


Phone: 07878 132 549



Cllr Keith Prince AM



Cllr Martin Goode



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