Free school transport for all!
Our children and young people’s right to safe, free transport to and from school is under attack. The Department of Education has launched a sham consultation on the future of school transport with three proposals. These are:
CHARGES: Introducing charges for school transport, potentially hundreds of pounds per child, which would hit already struggling families hard
CUTS: Increasing the required distance from the school to qualify, potentially putting children and young people’s safety at risk if they are forced to walk unsafe roads
RESTRICTIONS: Offering transport only to the nearest school deemed appropriate, with no regard for the right to choice and students’ needs
At a time when we need to be investing in and promoting public transport, any of these proposals would put more cars on our roads, leading to increased congestion and pollution.
Socialists reject these false choices and demand that this threat to children and young people’s education is lifted, as a step towards free, public school transport for all who want to use it, with no restrictions. School transport – as well as all vital public services – should be funded by taxing the profits of big business and the fortunes of the super-rich.
If you agree, sign Unite the Union’s petition online here: https://bit.ly/2CPjwKg
People power needed to defend school transport
The Department of Education’s so-called consultation is to end in late March. We need to immediately send them a clear message of opposition to any cuts. If they refuse to listen, Socialist Party members will continue to work alongside bus drivers and education workers in building a ‘people power’ campaign to resist these attacks, involving parents, students, trade unionists and the wider community. Grassroots, cross-community campaigns have successfully pushed a range of cuts and attacks and can defend school transport as well.
Stormont cuts to blame
This attack is directly linked to years of cuts agreed by all the parties in the Stormont Executive, implemented by both Sinn Féin and DUP education ministers, and now continued by civil servants. These cuts have left the majority of schools in serious financial difficulties, having a detrimental impact on young people’s education.
While they cynically whip up sectarianism when it suits them, the Green and Orange politicians were happy to work together in slashing jobs, benefits and public services while giving huge handouts to corporate interests. We need a political alternative which unites workers and young people across the sectarian divide to fight for a better future for all.