Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Faith School Tax - the final discriminatory proposals

Next week politicians at Leicestershire County Council will meet to discuss whether to introduce a 'faith school' tax on pupils who need to travel by bus to to mostly Roman Catholic denominational schools.

If you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that the Conservative administration at County Hall has been 'consulting' on whether to charge £490 a year to parents of school children at faith schools (an increase from the current £240 a year).

Despite the largest ever e-petition lodged with the County Council on any issue and a significant number of responses to the consultation recommendations have been made to politicians by the Director of Environment and Transport and the news isn't good.

In short the plan which Conservative politicians have been asked to approve is to charge £320 a year from this September and then raise that charge to £490 from September 2013!

It would seem that the only reason that the Director is not suggesting a charge of £490 this year is because the proposal could be open to legal action.

The Director has also recommended that from 2013 the County Council stops providing transport to faith schools for new pupils, leaving schools themselves to make transport arrangements. In reality this may well mean fares will increase yet again as clearly an individual school doesn't have the same purchasing power and economies of scale as the County Council.

Finally the Director has recommended, from 2013, removing the cap for the maximum amount a family can be charged to the equivalent of two times the individual charge.

In short if you have 3 children at the same catholic school from September 2013 you will be paying £1,470 a year to get them to and from school!

There is absolutely no doubt that these recommendations are an attack on faith based education, not because a charge is levied but because children going to catholic or other denominational schools do not receive the same basic entitlement as those going to secular schools. Whilst these proposals may be lawful there is no doubt in my mind they are morally discriminatory and an outrage.

Of course what all this means is that many poorer parents will not be able to have the choice to send their children to a faith school, but of course the Director has thought of this:

The report says that if parents move their children to a maintained or academy school they will be entitled to free transport!

The final decision is due to be taken next Tuesday.

If you feel angry about this issue, as I do, I would strongly urge you to contact your County Councillor to let them know that you will remember the decision taken next week when you go to the ballot box at the County Council elections in May next year. Maybe then they will listen.

2 comments:

  1. Forced to pay extra for my kids education just because of my faith. This is england 2012 i didnt vote for this, come to think of it there was no mention of this in the tory leaflets for county council

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Leon for highlighting this totally unfair system and
    taking the fight to the Tories at County Hall. This is what you get when you put your trust in a party who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
    Contact my County Councillor, What's the point his names RUSTON. I rest my case.

    ReplyDelete