The County You Live, Work And Play

© 2016 All rights reserved. Made By Mike Wilson
© 2016 All rights reserved. Made By Mike Wilson

The County You Live, Work And Play

MP And Council Leader Clash


06/07/15


Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier and South Lanarkshire Council Leader Eddie McAvoy have clashed over changes which could affect pupils’ entitlement to a free school bus.

Under the proposal, children would have to live at least three miles from their school to be entitled to free transport, instead of the current two-mile limit.

The clash followed the SNP’s Ms Ferrier stating in an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons that she has received several complaints from parents regarding the proposals.

After the EDM the SNP MP stated that she felt there had not been suitable consultation with parents regarding the proposals.


She said: “I’ve spoken to many concerned parents now and it is clear that South Lanarkshire Council have rushed these plans. People haven’t been properly consulted and the concerns of many are being ignored.

“The Labour-led South Lanarkshire Council seem determined to implement these changes, with little regard for those affected. Not only will these changes affect students and parents, but the full impact to morning commuters has not been properly assessed.

“Pupils, parents, and our public transport network are not prepared for these ill-conceived plans and I urge SLC to halt these proposals.”


However, Council Leader Eddie McAvoy has slammed the MP and SNP representatives in Holyrood, stating: “Margaret Ferrier’s claims about the proposed changes are all over the place.

“I totally refute any suggestion that the consultation is being rushed. However, I agree with her that in an ideal world we would not be considering changing our secondary school bus limits to the national statutory limit of three miles.

“Unfortunately, as I said when the council budget was set in February, the school transport proposals are one of a number of potential savings which have been forced on us by a large cut in our grant from the Scottish Government.

“Rather than political grandstanding, if Margaret Ferrier really wants to help us maintain services like these I would urge her to lobby her SNP colleagues at Holyrood to increase funding to the council, rather than slash it.”


A spokesperson for the council stated that they are still engaged in consultation regarding proposals with parents and others, including Education Scotland, and that a final consultation report will be published later this month.


Lynn Sherry, Head of Education at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “A statutory consultation took place over the period March 16 to May 13, 2015, during which time consultees were invited to make their views known. Following this period Education Scotland also considered the proposal and has recently made their report available to the council.

“A consultation report is currently being finalised which takes account of the responses that have been received. This final report will be completed and made available through the council’s website on July 10, 2015.

“Notification of how to access the report will be published in local newspapers on July 8 and 9, 2015.

“Following the publication of the consultation report, it will be considered at the executive committee of the council on August 26.”