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13 April 2006

Stevenson In Call To Education Minister For Fairer Funding For School Transport

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has urged Education Minister Peter Peacock to review current arrangements for funding school transport which are disadvantaging Aberdeenshire Council.

Currently, under the Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) arrangements for school transport, the Labour/Liberal Scottish Government provides around 45% of the national cost to councils of school transport. However, Aberdeenshire Council only receives around 30% of the £11.5 million which it costs each year to provide school transport, placing it at a considerable disadvantage.

Mr Stevenson commented:

Aberdeenshire Council is, by official measures, one of the most rural areas in the country. It stands to reason therefore that a large sum of money has to be spent on transporting children to school safely.

While the GAE does not totally cover the cost of this to the council, it is unacceptable that Aberdeenshire Council should be receiving around a third less in terms of GAE than the Scottish average. There are examples of councils in other, more urban, areas being better funded for school transport.

I have therefore urged the Education Minister to review this current system of funding so that councils like Aberdeenshire are not disadvantaged in they way they are at present.”

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