Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dear Opponents, Thank You for Your Opinion. However. Northumberland County Council's Labour Administration Has Faced Strong Criticism from Political Opponents over Plans to Cut Funding for Transport for Students. Here, Council Leader GRANT DAVEY Responds Directly to Three of Them - County Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick Sir Alan Beith and Berwick Conservative Candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dear Opponents, Thank You for Your Opinion. However. Northumberland County Council's Labour Administration Has Faced Strong Criticism from Political Opponents over Plans to Cut Funding for Transport for Students. Here, Council Leader GRANT DAVEY Responds Directly to Three of Them - County Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick Sir Alan Beith and Berwick Conservative Candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Article excerpt

DEAR Councillor Jackson, Sir Alan Beith and Anne Marie Trevelyan.

Thank you for your opinion with regard to the regrettable changes we have to make to post-16 transport. I think you will agree that circumstances have changed since this policy was introduced in 2008 when a Labour government was significantly supporting local authorities by rightly focusing resources on education and disadvantage.

The free Post-16 Transport Scheme was introduced at a time when the council was awash with cash. Compare that to the decisions taken by this Conservative-led and Liberalpropped-up coalition.

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention but in case you have forgotten, Northumberland County Council has lost one third of its total budget by cuts from a government you support.

During 2009 Labour gave councils extra cash to help schools, children's centres & Sure Start schemes which were centrally enhanced and the Labour government installed a fully funded Educational Maintenance Allowance which was paid out to those pupils who qualified, to assist with their Post-16 educational needs.

Northumberland Labour Group fully supported the introduction of the free post-16 transport scheme in 2008.

Moving on to today, the Liberals broke their promise to abolish tuition fees and tripled them, scrapped Educational Maintenance Allowance and joined with the Conservatives to drive forward an austerity programme which has meant cuts for local councils, especially in the North East, while protecting council expenditure across the South East of England.

I've not heard a word raised in protest by you at this shameless 'reverse Robin Hood policy' which takes from the poorest and gives to the richest.

Under Government plans you support, Northumberland County Council must lose another quarter of its revenue budget over the next three years.

From 2008-2013 the 'local coalition' of Conservatives and Liberals took out 1,500 jobs from the council workforce, causing dreadful hardship for families particularly in areas of higher unemployment in the South East and Rural Coalfield areas of the County.

Our policy, in operation since June 2013, is the opposite because we see, by backing the Northumberland economy, we can maintain jobs and family income levels in order to support communities countywide; therefore we must look at other methods and matters to meet the demand of a coalition government, supported by you, to reduce the spend of the council. …

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