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Northern Ireland - Boards spend #163;22m on taxis

Northern Ireland's education and library boards have spent #163;22.7 million on taxi fares in the past three years, it has emerged.

The five official bodies spent almost #163;8 million a year on taxis and private coach hire, primarily for pupils travelling to and from school.

The findings were revealed in response to a written question submitted by DUP Assembly member Thomas Buchanan to education minister Caitriona Ruane.

"#163;22.7 million over three years seems an extremely high figure to be spent on taxis, particularly at a time when budgets are pressed and various government departments are trying their best to make valuable resources stretch," Mr Buchanan said.

He was particularly concerned that the expenditure increased by almost #163;100,000 in the financial year for 200809.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said taxis were mainly used for pupils with special needs statements. MR.

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