COUNCILLORS are outraged after their authority considered charging parents of disabled children to transport them to school in a bid to cut costs.

Dozens of children with special needs were left stranded after Brighton and Hove City Council’s school transport service descended into chaos in September.

Multiple taxi companies had pulled out of contracts organised by Edge Public Solutions, a firm which was awarded a £499,000 contract to “streamline” school transport in the city.

Now as a review of the crisis is set to begin next month, documents obtained by the Conservatives show that at a meeting in April, the city council considered introducing charges for children aged 16 and older.

Councillors also considered reassessing whether the hundreds of children in the city were still eligible for the service.

Conservative Mary Mears said Labour had “badly misjudged” its school transport shake-up.

She referenced former education chief Nick Childs’s comments that “local petty bourgeois monopolies” had formed under the previous school transport system.

She said: “Labour has played on changing how services are procured to break what they call ‘petty bourgeoise monopolies’ of service providers.

“We have seen how badly they have misjudged that.

“Changing how a service is delivered is one thing but engineering access to that service is another.

“Their plans are also a key feature in their £499,000 contract with Edge Public Solutions, who are engaged to ‘provide expertise and capacity to support the delivery of demand reduction’.”

Fellow Tory Lee Wares added: “Time and time again we have heard Labour councillors profess to have little knowledge of what was going on.

“Now we have copies of documents demonstrating that not only did they know what was being proposed but they were in full support of it.”

A city council spokesman said it “would not be appropriate to speculate” what measures it would take.

“Clearly the situation with home-to-school transport has evolved a great deal since April,” he said.

“A comprehensive independent review of the problems we have faced since September will start in January.

“In addition, a cross-party panel of councillors is working towards understanding what went wrong.”

Councillors Mears and Wares both walked out of the panel’s first meeting earlier this month.

They were angered the panel would focus on unresolved issues.