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Facebook ‘rant’ over inflated term-time prices could spark Parliament debate

A Facebook post by an angry father has echoed the feelings of millions of parents around the UK.

Paul Cookson may have only had 250 friends on the social networking site, but his 100 word post about unfair price increase during the school holidays has gone viral. His ‘School Holiday Rant’, in which he posted a screenshot of the £300 price hike for a villa in Centerparcs during the holidays, has since been shared nearly 150,000 times.

Mr Cookson expressed how fed up he was at being “ripped off” by companies that inflate prices outside of the school term and parents should not be “penalised” for doing the right thing. With thousands of people agreeing with Mr Cookson, he set up a Facebook group called Holiday Price Increase, where people can share their examples.

One member posted a link to the e-petition, “Stop holiday companies charging extra in school holidays”, which was started nine months ago by mum of two, Donna Thresher. Calling for a cap on price increase, it has managed to garner 3,000 signatures, but nowhere near the 100,000 required to be considered for a debate in Parliament. As such, she thought it was “dead in the water”.

However, since being posted in Mr Cookson’s Facebook group, it has gone far and above that threshold, with over 146,000 signatures at the time of writing. However, the Backbench Business Committee is not yet considering it. Since the beginning of the 2013/14 school term, new legislation has ruled that head teachers are not allowed to authorise term-time holidays in an attempt to clamp down on absences.

It was reported last week that a couple from Shropshire had been fined £1,000 for taking their daughter on holiday during the school term. Parents trying to fight against high prices during the holidays are advised to take advantage of early bird deals and keep costs down by comparing travel insurance, flights, hotels and transfers.

Date Created: 31 January 2014

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