PARENTS in East Renfrewshire who paid for their children to go on school trips that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic will receive full refunds.

Councillors have agreed a process to repay the money so that families “are not financially disadvantaged by any lengthy delays.”

There had been 45 trips planned before the end of term, with around £365,000 collected from parents and carers and approximately £218,000 paid out to travel providers.

Residential trips for primary seven pupils can cost up to £350 each, while secondary school trips can rise to £2,500.

The decision to provide full refunds was made at a meeting of the council’s emergencies committee last week.

A report to the committee stated: “Government action to address the Covid-19 pandemic led to all school excursions scheduled over the period late March to the end of the school session in June being cancelled. Uncertainty remains regarding the possibility of any excursions planned for school session 2020/21 going ahead.

“For many families, the costs already paid to the council for these excursions will be significant and many have made enquiries about when they will be refunded. Any prolonged delay in refunding will be particularly difficult for those families already experiencing financial hardship due to the negative economic impact of Covid-19.”

If no payments have been made to travel providers and the council can confirm there are no contractual obligations relating to cancellation, then a full refund will be issued.

A full refund can also be paid by the council if the supplier confirms the money will be returned later.

When a provider gives “sufficient” evidence as to why a full refund can’t be provided, then an insurance claim will be launched to allow a full refund to be paid.