Regional AM Suzy Davies has condemned the leadership of Swansea Council for running up court costs of £270,000 in a futile attempt to scrap school buses for pupils attending Roman Catholic and Church in Wales schools.
Welsh Conservative Mrs Davies, who raised the discriminatory nature of the existing Welsh law with the Transport Minister, said that it was clear that the council’s actions could be challenged in court.
She went on to say: “That’s precisely what’s happened when their decision was taken to Judicial Review and the council insisted on contesting the case which it then lost. The court was able to find discrimination outside the terms of the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure, sending a strong message that councils need to consider children’s rights outside individual pieces of legislation.
“It is my firm view that the law in Wales needs to be changed so that language and faith are factors in deciding what a child’s nearest school is so that councils aren’t faced with conflicting messages. The Welsh Conservative Assembly manifesto will reflect that.
“The council’s costs, and those of the pupil and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Menevia which supported the case, are now being paid by hard-pressed taxpayers in Swansea. The council is already facing unprecedented budget cuts as a result of the Welsh Labour Government’s decision to slash local authority funding so this will be an added burden.
“I congratulate the Evening Post for digging out this information. It’s only right that those who pay for council services through their taxes should know about the costs of mistakes like this.
“Will heads roll at Swansea Council over this debacle? I would be very surprised if they did. There’s a complete lack of accountability within local government when bad decisions are taken. The only recourse residents have is via the ballot box at the next elections.”