I am extremely angry that a predominately south-east Labour-controlled county council has decided to charge 16-plus pupils for attending high school when they are the poorer families from the rural areas of Northumberland.
They are not tax rich residents sending their children out of the county and there is therefore no loss of ratepayers’ money out of the county.
It has been reported to me that there is an element in the County Hall who thinks if people live out of town they have more cash and can afford to pay for services, however, the opposite is the fact that agriculture employees are not rich and the wage packet is not in high-bonus-earning categories of employment.
Also these young pupils are only attending their local designated high school but happen to reside more than three miles from their school.
I would also tell our county councillors that this county has one of the lowest cost per pupil for attending school which I was told was because Northumberland had its schools placed in the best way to provide for all the young people within its boundaries.
Even those youngsters attending Ashington Technical College are still within our county boundaries.
I might also remind the county council that the policy committee does not have the education responsibility invested in it, only the county council can decide in the absence of the old LEA.
I wonder if the parents should seek legal advice about the rights of a lower committee to take unlawful actions regarding this subject.
It is also quite wrong for the chairman to cancel the meeting of the council this summer when important business is pending on how this council should act on the next financial round.
I feel there is a need for the refounding of the old Rate Payers Association we formed in the early ’60s to right the wrongs being done is this area for the taxpayers of the North East, the Founding Father then was the late Viscount Ridley.
Chairman of education 1974 to 1981