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  1. ITV Report

Father's Facebook rant renews school holiday price debate

There are further calls to take action over the amount travel companies charge during school holidays. Photo: Reuters

A father's rant on being "ripped off" by school holiday costs has sparked further calls for action over the amount travel companies charge outside term times.

Paul Cookson angrily said he was "sick to death" of being "ripped off" off by companies which increase prices outside of school term times, and urged his Facebook followers to "share this post of you have also had enough".

Mr Cookson's rant was sparked by an attempt to book a holiday with his daughter at Center Parcs' resort in Sherwood Forest.

Despite only have 254 friends, the 41-year-old's rant seemed to resonate with other parents after the post was shared over 144,000 times.

Paul Cookson's rant has brought the issue back into the spotlight. Credit: Facebook/Paul Cookson

The company that originally sparked Mr Cookson's anger, Center Parcs, insisted that their pricing was based on supply and demand.

"Center Parcs’ pricing reflects the seasonality of the supply and demand for our breaks. We reduce our prices significantly during off peak periods to reflect the lower demand at these times," a spokesman told ITV News.

"It is also worth noting that the success of our business relies upon us re-investing millions of pounds each year into our Villages, in order to maintain the high quality short break experience with which we have become synonymous."

Paul Cookson angrily said he was "sick to death" of being 'ripped off' off by travel companies. Credit: Reuters

An online petition on the Government's website, calling for a cap on the amount companies can increase their prices during holiday time has attracted over 147,000 signatures - passing the threshold to get a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The petition, set up by mother-of-two Donna Thresher, originally had just 3,000 signatures but Mr Cookson's post substantially increased the number of supporters.

An online petition on the Government's website has attracted over 147,000 signatures so far. Credit: Direct.gov

The issue was brought into the spotlight again last week after Stewart and Natasha Sutherland were ordered to pay nearly £1,000 in fines for taking their three children to Greece in September during term time.

New rules introduced in September mean head teachers can only allow absence outside school holidays in "exceptional circumstances".

New rules introduced in September mean head teachers can only allow absence outside school holidays in "exceptional circumstances". Credit: PA Wire

Following the end of the case last week, a Department of Education spokesman warned parents over the cost of taking children on holiday during term time.

A spokesman said: "Parents should never simply discount a possible penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday, because this is a criminal offence and when doing so they are always risking prosecution.

"Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect, and children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent."