Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Report Highlights Need For Free Transport For Young Jobless

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have called again for their free transport scheme for the young unemployed to be implemented by the Tory-run county council as a report highlights travel costs as a barrier to learning.

The report on Adult Learning and Skills was presented to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet today (Tuesday, January 15) and makes a direct link between the cost of transport to the poor take-up rate for opportunities

Lib Dems have costed a programme which would provide free transport for young people who are not in education, employment or training. It would cover travel costs for the first month of a new job, apprenticeship or education placement.

“We have long asserted that young people out of education, employment and training (NEET) are losing out due to lack of access to transport,” said Susan van de Ven, Lib Dem Transport spokesperson. “The county council currently does nothing to assist these young people with transport needs.

“Today's report provides compelling evidence that our scheme is badly needed as a first step to addressing transport needs.

“But it is baffling that the Conservative Cabinet's response to the transport problem spelled out in the report completely omits any reference whatsoever to transport solutions. The problem will therefore persist and young people will continue to be excluded from opportunities they badly need.  Solutions are possible and the county council cabinet must think again.

The report said: "As a rural county, travel to learn distances and costs can be considerable and so act as a barrier to learning."

Lucy Nethsingha, Lib Dem spokesperson for Children and Young People said: "The report makes worrying reading.  It talks of NEET hotspots in Fenland and parts of Cambridge city.

“We have been aware for sometime of the gap in attainment between children in poverty and those from better off backgrounds in Cambridgeshire. Transport is one important part of this issue, and schools also have a part to play in ensuring equality of provision for children from less well off backgrounds."