COUNCILLORS who voted to slash payments to school transport providers during lockdown have now agreed to stump up an extra £80,000 to the operators.

An original recommendation from local authority officials to pay only 33 per cent of the usual contractual remuneration package was rejected by elected members earlier this month.

But Inverclyde Council's governing policy and resources executive sub-committee still passed a motion — on the casting vote of convener Stephen McCabe — to cut the payments.

The money-saving move came amid the ongoing lockdown which has shut schools until after the summer holidays.

Now the committee has agreed — again on Councillor McCabe's casting vote — a proposal from Conservative Councillor Graeme Brooks to up the money.

Councillor Brooks' motion for a 100 per cent payment for April and 60 per cent payouts to cover May and June sparked a 3-3 tied vote.

Chief financial officer Alan Puckrin said: "That's 220 per cent, so that extra 40 per cent would equate to around £80,000 of payment to the bus contractors."

An amendment from SNP group leader Chris McEleny for 100 per cent payments to be maintained was defeated.

Councillor McCabe said: "The original proposal that came from officers was to pay 33 per cent for the period April, May and June, having paid 100 per cent for March."

Councillor McEleny said: "Given that a letter that has gone out to transport providers about the key role they are going to play in getting kids back to school, perhaps with extra runs come August, I don't think it is right that we have a proposal from officers to cut payments for two months."

His amendment was supported by councillors Ronnie Ahlfeld and Elizabeth Robertson, while Mr Brooks' motion was backed by Jim Clocherty and Mr McCabe.