A teenage relative of John Pentland, Labour MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has been awarded a grant for taxi fares of £9,120 a year over three years, totalling more than £27,000.
The grant was awarded by Labour controlled North Lanarkshire Council and will enable the teenager to attend Scotland’s national dance school situated approximately 20 miles from her home.
Mr. Pentland still serves on the local authority and the council minutes show GTS Taxis won the contract.
SNP councillors voiced their anger at the large award at a time of severe spending cuts.
SNP councillor John Taggart said:
“We’ve got to be very careful about what we’re funding. If the parents are in a position to contribute, then I think they should contribute.
If it’s a child with special needs or any kind of disability, then we would fund them to the end of the earth. But when it’s something that you would like your son or daughter to do, is there an obligation on the council to actually fund your wishes?
In North Lanarkshire, there are hundreds of pupils who go to dance classes and these parents pay for that out of their own pockets.”
Labour insisted all children in North Lanarkshire are entitled to transportation grants “whatever their background”.
North Lanarkshire Council said: “The child in question is eligible for transport to and from school. We have merely applied the relevant criteria.”
Mr. Pentland is currently on holiday.