Holiday companies get to hold all the cards

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

NEWS COMMENT: Dig deep and help to spread some comfort this Christmas

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No child should be taken out of school so it is to the detriment of their overall education.

And of course, taking children away on holiday during exam periods should not be allowed.

But, parents risking criminalisation for wanting to take their children on holiday at a less-than-critical time of year is ridiculous.

Parents who want to take a break are now held entirely to ransom by the holiday industry.

Granted, this is not empirical research, but anecdotally there are many of us who were taken on the occasional holiday in our youth during term-time, and it would be tough to argue that our peers have emerged all these years and decades later as having had some advantage.

It’s wonderful that we live in a country where ‘each child has a fundamental right to be educated’, when there are so many around the world denied that right.

But can you really argue with a straight face that a pair of primary school children are going to have their educational careers irrevocably damaged by taking two weeks out shortly before the end of the summer term?

Surely a bit of commonsense should be applied rather than a rigid rule.

The Louth family from Baffins in Portsmouth have been fined £240 by Portsmouth City Council for their Morrocan break in June.

It’s a farcical state of affairs that a family-of-four can take a holiday before school breaks up, pay the fine, and still save money if they had taken the same vacation a few weeks later.

It just goes to show how blatant the profiteering is by the holiday companies.

Unfortunately, the basic laws of supply and demand dictate that these businesses will continue to price their products as high as the market will bear.

As long as people keep buying, it’s highly unlikely that they will voluntarily reduce their prices.

It is only right that parents who facilitate truantism should be punished.

But there needs to be another look at the way cases like those of the Louths are handled.

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