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Luton councillors walk out at school bus meeting

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Media captionProtesters shouted and waved banners from the public gallery

Disruption broke out during a council meeting in Luton after it was announced free transport for faith schools is to be scrapped.

Pupils and parents booed, waved placards and chanted "save our buses" from the public gallery of the town hall.

Members of the executive walked out, refusing to return until all members of the public had left the building.

The council said the cut could save nearly £300,000 in the first year.

From September, the majority of Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School will lose the free bus travel available to those living over three miles away.

Luton Borough Council said it had to make £49m of cuts over the next three years.

£600 per child

It currently provides discretionary free transport for children under eight who live between two and 15 miles from their school and between three and 15 miles for over eights.

The authority said the cut would save about £278k in 2013/14 and £487k in 2014/15.

They are legally obliged to provide the transport for pupils aged 11 to 16 from low income families and this will continue.

About 600 pupils at Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School will be affected.

Eleven buses a day, including 10 double-deckers, ferry children to the Warden Hill Road school.

Parents said it would cost about £600 per child per year to make alternative arrangements.

In March, protesters against the plans drove children to and from school for the day in a bid to try to stop council plans.

Parents of pupils at Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School said they hoped the extra traffic would show what would happen if they had to do it every day.

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