Plan stop fines on parents who take children on holidays during term time

Ashfield Independents has called forward the changes to stop the 60 fine for a year.
Ashfield Independents has called forward the changes to stop the 60 fine for a year.

Parents may not be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time, as new plans are put forward to the council.

A new monition which is going before Nottinghamshire County Council on Thursday, January, 18, could see a temporary, one-year suspension of the fines.

Late last year the council approved plans to change summer holiday dates.

Adding an extra week onto the October holidays.

Ashfield Independents has called forward the changes to stop the £60 fine for a year.

Lats year nearly 2500 families were fined during the summer term - a rise of over 1000 from the year before.

Councillor Tom Hollis, Deputy Leader of Ashfield Independents, who proposed the motion has said parents have 'no choice' but to take children on holiday during term time because of the current climate.

He said: "For far too long, some greedy travel operators have levied huge increases in prices during school holidays.

"Many parents I have spoken to in Ashfield tell me that they are faced with taking their children out of school or not going away at all.

"Many parents say they have no choice in the current climate. That's why the Council changing term times is welcome.

"Our motion though calls for the fines to be reduced or even frozen for the 2019 / 20 academic year when these changes will be implemented as parents get used to the changes.

He also said the party is looking to ask the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) to carry out a review of their member's pricing policies.

He said: "Their failure to get to grips with the rip off pricing policies of their members is affecting the poorest families."

Councillor Alan Rhodes, leader of the Labour group at the council has said he think the plan will send the wrong message to parents.

He said: "I have great sympathy ripped off by travel agents putting the prices up.

"However, education is the greatest gift for a child.

"I think it will send the wrong message about the value of education.

"The Labour party has not decided our position on this but we meet on Wednesday."

He also said that in relation to the changes in term time the council needs to be 'sympathetic' to people who have already booked a holiday.

A spokeswoman for ABTA said: “The reason prices rise during school holidays and other busy periods is due to supply and demand. Many people in the UK and across Europe take holidays during the peak periods of bank holidays and the months of July and August, which are also the times when most schools take their holidays.

“This further increases demand for a limited number of hotel rooms and flight seats, therefore prices rise. If school holiday dates were staggered, this would help to alleviate sharp peaks and spread demand over a longer period of time.

“The reason prices rise during school holidays and other busy periods is due to supply and demand. Many people in the UK and across Europe take holidays during the peak periods of Bank holidays and the months of July and August, which are also the times when most schools take their holidays. This further increases demand for a limited number of hotel rooms and flight seats, therefore prices rise. If school holiday dates were staggered, this would help to alleviate sharp peaks and spread demand over a longer period of time.

“Booking early is a good way for families to ensure an affordable holiday with the greatest choice - package tour operators offer free child places for early bookers and lower fares for children. Now is a good time to book as many travel companies are offering such discounts.”