‘We will make a fuss if you take away our bus’ - students protest over council subsidy plan

Students protest in Norwich city centre against the proposal to cut their bus fare subsidy for travel to college. Photo: Bill Smith Students protest in Norwich city centre against the proposal to cut their bus fare subsidy for travel to college. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
5:16 PM

College and sixth form students from across Norfolk waved banners saying “save our subsidy” as they campaigned against proposed cuts to bus travel.

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Students protest in Norwich city centre against the proposal to cut their bus fare subsidy for travel to college. Photo: Bill SmithStudents protest in Norwich city centre against the proposal to cut their bus fare subsidy for travel to college. Photo: Bill Smith

Dozens of teenagers gathered in Norwich city centre today chanting “we will make a fuss if you take away our bus” against proposals by Norfolk County Council to cut bus subsidies for students aged between 16 and 19.

The county council is looking to plug a £189m funding gap and is consulting people on proposals to save £2m by reducing bus subsidies.

Students from City College Norwich, Great Yarmouth College, and East Norfolk Sixth Form College attended a rally this morning where they urged shoppers and passersby to sign a petition ahead of the ending of the council’s Putting People First consultation on Thursday.

Campaigners fear that the end of the subsidy would result in the average bus pass rising from £468 to £850 a year.

City College Norwich student Elliot Page, 20, of Dereham, who helped organise the event, said student unions were uniting to fight the proposals by the county council.

“There is very little for students in Norfolk and the cuts are disproportionately affecting young people. These cuts will hit at the worst possible time and will stop them from getting the education they need.”

“We do not think that it is a done deal. We faced these cuts three years ago and managed to push it aside. We hope they will see sense and push the cuts elsewhere,” he said.

The Norfolk Student Union Forum said young people were being “punished” at a time when youth unemployment was high and support schemes had been scrapped.

More than 1,000 signatures were collected by students at East Norfolk College and City College Norwich students aim to match that number when the County Hall consultation comes to an end this week.

Seventeen-year-old Isaac Kennedy, president of the student association at East Norfolk College, who lives in Reedham, said it was compulsory for young people to go to sixth form or college, but they were having to pay for their transport to and from college.

“It is going to cost families more, especially low income families and people with more children. We do not think it is a lost cause and it is important for them [Norfolk County Councillors] to realise that we care about it and we have something important to say,” he said.

The full consultation is available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/puttingpeoplefirst

View a video of the students’ protest at www.eveningnews24.co.uk.

Do you have a view on the county council budget cut proposals? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

6 comments

  • Maybe "Fishmore" and "Norfolk John" think we shouldn't educate young people at all?

    Report this comment

    HappisburghHarry

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • I suppose when they do get a job when!! they will want a free car to take them to work

    Report this comment

    Fishmore

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Shouldn't they have been in college today?

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

  • Why don't they use some of the subsidy they use to run a cheap union bar and redirect it to help the cost of travel? Young People aren't being "punished". Everyone is making a sacrifice. Pensions slashed. Pay frozen for last three years! Irony is that it was overspending by Nu Labour that got us into this mess and nbow the Labour Controlled County Council have to dish out the bad news.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Welcome to the real world, where if you want something you pay for it. No taxation no representation.

    Report this comment

    ggj666

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Ggj66: I think you'll find they do pay tax, unless you don't count VAT as a tax.

    Report this comment

    Sugarbeet

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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