Home to School Transport Consultation is being Extended
First Minister, as you may be well aware, and as you’ve just mentioned, even though RCT council have financial reserves of a staggering £270 million, they now intend to end home-to-school transport for those children living within two miles of primary schools and three miles of secondary schools on the grounds of budget cuts from the Welsh Government. This has angered many residents who feel that these cuts are unjustified given the excessive reserves that the council has and the fact that they pay some of the highest council tax rates in the entire United Kingdom. They are also angered because the council’s own consultation exercise has highlighted the detrimental impact these cuts will have on Welsh language learning, which will be adversely impacted and which will pose a risk to their target of significantly growing the number of learners accessing Welsh-medium education. Moreover, First Minister, this removal of home-to-school transport for these distances will almost certainly result in parents driving their children to school and increasing localised pollution and traffic, which seem to be exactly the opposite of what the Welsh Government is trying to do. It also flies in the face of what the Welsh Youth Parliament and the Welsh children’s commissioner have been advocating. With this in mind, what stepse is the Welsh Government taking to challenge RCT council to use some of its £270 million-worth of reserves, which it has collected from hard-working taxpayers, on keeping the home-to-school transport provision? Thank you.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has confirmed that the recent Home to School Transport Consultation is being extended for three weeks. The Council recognises the significance of the proposal for pupils who use and will use home to school transport now or in the future, and the extended consultation provides a further opportunity for those potentially impacted to take part in the consultation.
There will be further in-person drop in events where officers will be on hand to answer any questions on the proposal and encourage people to take part in the online survey:
- Hawthorn Leisure Centre, Hawthorn 29th January 2024, 4pm-7pm
- Sobell Leisure Centre, Aberdare 30th January 2024, 12pm-2pm, 4pm-7pm
- Rhondda Fach Leisure Centre, Tylorstown 31st January 2024, 4pm-7pm
This extension is an addition to the previous six-week consultation which ran from November 27, 2023, to January 8, 2024, and provided three in-person opportunities.
The extension will see the consultation reopen on Thursday, 18 January, and will remain open until Thursday, 8 February. If you have previously taken part in the consultation, you do not need to do this again. You can take part in the online consultation here: Consultation on the Council’s Home to School Transport Policy
The Home to School Transport proposal is being considered due to the significant financial pressures faced by the Council with a confirmed £36m budget gap for the next financial year.