Protesters have one last hope for controversial plans cutting personal door-to-door transport services for disabled schoolchildren to be scrapped.
Sutton executive councillors voted on Monday for pick-up points for a potential 85 special needs children in the borough once risk assessments were completed.
But opposition councillors called back the motion the following day over concerns the proposals were too vague and would not reduce savings as expected.
A final vote will now take place at the full meeting of the council today.
Last month the council said it had “responded to concerns” and children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and those who could not walk unassisted, would be unaffected by the plans, which originally targeted 345 children.
But speaking at the executive meeting, the mother of a seven-year-old girl with multiple difficulties said the proposals should be scrapped.
Michelle Kinsella, 39, said: “This is barbaric, it should not go through for any child.’’ Opposition spokesman for learning services Councillor Peter Wallis said potential savings had fallen from £250,000 to £200,000 after ASD pupils were omitted and this would be further reduced by the “yet unknown cost of risk assessments’’.
He said: “It could be that a larger than expected number of youngsters will not be able to use pick-up points even after the risk assessments have been carried out. This will reduce the savings yet further.’’ Council expenditure on SEN transport has increased from £2.8m in 2005/2006 to an estimated £4.3m for 2008/2009.
Speaking at the meeting, executive member for young people Councillor Tony Brett Young said he disagreed with criticism of the council over its suggestion the plans would benefit the health and wellbeing of the youngsters.
He said: “Walking is healthy and for many it’s an opportunity to expand life experiences.
“Children’s safety is of paramount importance and we would never consider proposals that we thought could put anyone in danger.
“However, the rising cost of providing SEN transport is not sustainable in the long run and our residents demand that we keep a close eye on how we spend their money.’’ Mr Brett Young also said Kingston, Ealing, Havering and Brent boroughs already have pick-up point schemes in place.