Travel firms ‘cashing in’ on families with school-aged children

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TRAVEL chiefs are helping drive down the cost of family holidays by offering a 10 per cent discount, as holiday prices come under scrutiny.

Education secretary Michael Gove yesterday said parents were “wrong” to take children out of school during term time, to take advantage of cheaper holidays.

Mr Gove was speaking as Parliament prepared to debate a petition calling for action to stop holiday companies “cashing in” by ramping-up prices during the school holidays.

The Education Secretary said parents should lobby schools to change term dates, to allow pupils to go on holiday at different times, and said the holiday industry should “look at itself in the mirror” and ask whether it was doing enough to help customers.

Hays Travel has teamed-up with Sunderland City Council to offer a discount to every family with a child attending a Wearside school.

Caroline Fretwell, from Hays, said: “Hays Travel has worked with local councils in the North East for more than 10 years now, trying to help parents with the cost of getting away during the official school holidays.

“We realise how important school is for local children, so we try to help families by offering discount vouchers to those booking a holiday outside of term time.”

Families can book their holiday any time within the 175 days off and can use the vouchers as many times as they like.

Ms Fretwell added: “The success of the scheme so far speaks for itself.

“The figures show that less children in the North East are being taken out of school for holidays as a result of the offer, which is great news.”

Yesterday’s debate at the House of Commons was sparked after an e-petition demanding “guilt-free family time” for parents, secured 170,000 signatures on the Government’s own website.

The e-petition highlighted the concerns about holiday companies “cashing in on school holidays”.