On Tuesday this week, the cabinet of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council voted to introduce a flat-rate charging policy for adults with special educational needs (SEN) to travel to college. The move will also hit elderly people attending day care centres and adults with SEN using day services and respite care. Post-16 SEN learners will be hit with a £380 charge per year, while the elderly and day service users will face a cost of £3 for a return trip.
The Council cuts to adult SEN learners comes at a time when Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat Children’s Minister, has just announced a new programme for SEN support staff for younger learners. While the Coalition Government are working hard for the needs of vulnerable learners, Redcar and Cleveland Council are taking away opportunities and risking invaluable lifelines for those in most need.
The decision has been condemned by Liberal Democrats on the Council who believe that this minor saving will have a massive impact on the Borough’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Commenting on the decision, Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader, Glyn Nightingale said:
“This is a typical move by the ruling Labour Group.''
“They are more interested in ploughing millions of pounds of council tax revenue into their ludicrous, ill-thought out regeneration programme and ‘Vertical Pier’ than protecting vital local services. They continually fail to crack down on waste.”
Ian Swales, MP for Redcar added:
“Imposing charges for access to key services is detrimental to the individuals concerned and the area as a whole. This is a choice that the Labour-run Council have made, and they have chosen to hurt those that need support the most.”