Council budget: Should free bus passes for faith school pupils be axed?

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Kirklees Council is in the process of making sweeping budget cuts.

It has to save almost £70m over the next three years – and they have been asking members of the public where they think the axe should fall, and what they think should be protected.

Phase two of the council’s consultation is complete and nearly 3000 people responded

Kirklees asked people for their views on 18 specific budget options and ideas for 2015-16. The option that got the most positive response, with 71 per cent of people in support, was to remove kiosk payment facilities from council buildings, with council tax, business rates and other bills paid by direct debit, online, by phone or at Post Offices to save £200,000.

The second most popular was ending free bus passes for pupils attending faith schools and changing the school transport policy to save £455,000 by 2016.

A controversial move that Kirklees is proposing is ceasing funding for the Dewsbury and Huddersfield free town bus service, which costs the council £198,000 a year. A total of 65 per cent of people felt this was a ‘good’ or ‘OK’ idea.

Kirklees could stop festivals such as Dewsbury on Sea and cease contributions to events like Cleckheaton Folk Festival, saving £186,000 per year. Of those who responded, 46 per cent were in support of the cut in funding for events and 41 per cent were against, with the remainder undecided.

The least supported ideas were to reduce staffing in the Youth Offending team with 67 per cent against; while 52 per cent were against reductions in street cleaning and 45 per cent against reducing subsidies for sport and physical activities.