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  • "
    dave1958 wrote:
    All you Tory bullies, all you do is say things would be so much better under the Tories. I lay odds that not one of you actually live in Southampton, pay council tax in Southampton. It is very easy to write what you have written on this thread about a Southampton City Councillor who was democratically elected by the people of Coxford the division he represents on the City council, and he lives in the division. But how many of you would have the nerve to say it to Don's face, I lay odds none of you. I have personally known Don for over 30 years, and know he is an honest member of the community, says what he means, not like certain Tory councillors who hid behind anything, and on top of that he is respected by the people of Coxford. It is also not very good when a news paper like the Echo can allow Tory bullies make personal attacks on a Southampton City Councillor.
    So we don't live in Southampton?
    So who's moved Lordshill?
    So he says what he means?
    Helius has ticked all the No campaigns boxes? Did anyone tell them that?
    No buses in Lordshill? So what are those things stopping at Lordshill library picking people up?
    Helicopters are landing where youths play? does he mean the same youths that put razor blades into the cricket pitches or ride motorbikes with no plates in rainy weather across sports pitches to tear them up. or the ones who drive cars over the earthen barriers & set light to them or the ones who tear down Rugby /Football posts?
    he is only bothered in helping if he thinks he'll get your vote.
    Where was he when people from Coxford & the channel Island estate objected to the Barker Mills housing application which we were all opposed to? Paul Holmes objected oh he's a Tory.
    When are your candidates going to knock the doors of people who aren't Labour supporters?"
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Free term-time museum tickets spark truancy accusations

Southampton's new SeaCity Museum.

Southampton's new SeaCity Museum.

First published in Politics Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

Southampton Tories have been accused of undermining the council’s hardline truancy policy by offering families free term-time only entry to the city’s new £15m Titanic museum.

Labour attacked the giveaway, which began this week, while grilling ruling Conservatives on Southampton’s high levels of school truancy.

Although they are improving, the city has some of the worst attendance rates of any local authority in England with absence having a major impact on exam results.

Nearly 100,000 households in Southampton have been invited to visit the city’s new SeaCity Museum this year for free.

But the offer of entry for a family of two adults and three children, or three adults, excludes school holidays.

The timing of the giveaway, weeks before crunch local elections, has already been criticised by Labour leaders who added it should not have been a “priority” amid service cuts and job losses.

Labour Councillor Don Thomas said: “It seems quite crazy that at this time with poor attendances and all the agencies working so hard to discourage hooky in Southampton schools that this Tory council seems, by offering free vouchers during school time, to be supporting parents removing children from school.

“It surely would not have taken a genius to work out that the council could discourage families from taking days off from school by simply putting on the voucher ‘children not free during school hours’.”

The city’s education boss councillor Jeremy Moulton said: “Labour have made it clear they oppose the new SeaCity Museum, despite it being a huge success.

“They also opposed the free tickets to local residents. Obviously people can take their children to the museum after school or at weekends, so the suggestion that limiting free tickets to term time encourages truancy is really just a silly partisan comment about what is a very serious topic.”

Southampton was ranked 140th out of 152 for the proportion of lessons missed in secondary schools in 2010/11.

Absence figures have improved thanks to work in schools, supported by the council, but 7.6 per cent of all lessons are missed at the city’s secondary schools, and 5.4 per cent of primary school sessions.

The council has forecast SeaCity will attract more than 150,000 visitors a year.

Civic leaders say they will not be making a great loss on the free ticket giveaway as they only expected around 12,000 city residents to have paid to visit – worth £70,000 to £80,000 in income.

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