Cheshire West and Chester Council deputy leader Les Ford in ‘special needs’ storm – Chester Chronicle

Less Ford

{Community would be better served with less Les Ford!}

Deputy council leader Les Ford has apologised for offending parents of special needs children by calling their loved ones ‘a burden’.

Parents, Mencap and the National Autistic Society have complained about Cllr Ford’s remarks during meetings where Cheshire West and Chester Council decided to bill parents of special educational needs (SEN) children £880 a year towards the £5,200 school transport costs.

Pupils up to four-years-old or between 16 and 19 years or with medical needs are eligible for the charge from September, which is reduced to £660 for the first year only. Low income families pay half.

Cllr Ford (Con, Helsby), who has since apologised for any offence, told the April executive meeting: “We have a burden, as everybody does, when you have a person like this in one’s family.”

Parents were also offended by the phrase ‘the state of that child’, when he told the March executive meeting: “Every parent has a duty to get their children to school, irrespective of the state of that child, whether it be SEN, autism or whatever.”

Explaining why he used the term ‘burden’, Cllr Ford told The Chronicle : “It’s our burden, not theirs, because we have to pay for these people.

via Cheshire West and Chester Council deputy leader Les Ford in ‘special needs’ storm – Chester Chronicle.