Councillors in Suffolk have been denied the opportunity to publicly debate home-to-school transport proposals.
The Conservative majority at Suffolk County Council today voted against a motion that would have allowed all councillors the chance to vote on the final school transport proposals, before the Cabinet makes a decision in June.
The cross-party motion, proposed by Labour and seconded by the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group, called for an extraordinary Council meeting to debate and hold a non-binding vote on the final proposals. This would have given councillors who represent the most affected areas, from across the political spectrum, the chance to have their say and raise their concerns.
Councillor Andrew Stringer, who seconded the motion, commented:
“I am deeply disappointed that this motion did not receive the support of the council. It is very strange that Conservative councillors have denied themselves the opportunity to fully represent those who elected them.
From the very beginning, the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group has fought against these proposals. We are deeply concerned that a change in school transport policy will not achieve any significant savings, whilst causing untold harm to thousands of rural families.
We know that many other councillors share our concerns. They, and their constituents, deserve the right to have a say. It is a shame they did not have the courage to speak up today.”
The text of the motion reads:
‘This council resolves to hold an extraordinary County Council meeting ahead of the Cabinet meeting at which the changes to the Suffolk County Council Home-to-School transport policy will be decided.
The possible changes to the Home-to-School policy are likely to impact on the way that education in Suffolk is delivered. Any decision taken on the outcomes of the current consultation will impact on parents, teachers, headteachers, the whole school estate and pupils.
This extra County Council meeting will discuss the preferred Home-to-School transport option proposed by the administration and hold a non-binding vote on the proposals to inform Cabinet of its views.
This council notes that all papers for this meeting would need to be released in accordance with the Constitution.’