Suffolk's cabinet forced to rethink on school bus cuts after intervention by opposition

29 September 2017


The LibDem, Green and independent group of councillors on Suffolk County Council (pictured above) have halted a plan to consult on cuts to Suffolk’s school buses.

The proposal from the authority’s Conservative cabinet would have gone to consultation early next month but five councillors of the group, including Green councillor Robert Lindsay, managed to refer the decision to scrutiny committee.

On Thursday 28th September scrutiny committee heard the argument from parents and Green councillor Andrew Stringer and LibDem Penny Otton and voted by seven to four to refer the plan for a consultation back to cabinet for a rethink.

Cllr Andrew Stringer told the committee: "I'm not against consultations, but if you want a good consultation you have to ask the right questions."

The scrutiny committee heard from parents of the Thurston Community School who said many would have no choice but to change schools if their school bus was removed. 

The proposal, which must now be rethought, was to cut school bus provision where the school is not the nearest school. Currently many hundreds of children get a free bus to the primary or secondary school that is in their catchment area, but for many thousands of children the catchment school is not their nearest.  

Cabinet papers claimed that savings could be up to £3 million but the opposition group's research showed that in Essex, where a similar policy had been carried out, the move actually increased costs as often several buses had to go on different routes from the same village. 

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