AS summer approaches, Southend parents appear to be in little danger of being fined for taking their children on holiday during term time, figures have revealed.

Across Essex, 36 parents out of every 1,000 faced a fine, while in Thurrock the figure rose to 38 in every 1,000 in 2018.

But in Southend just one person was fined.

Fresh figures show across the country, there was a 93 per cent increase in fines in 2018 - totalling 223,000 for the year.

Councils can require parents to pay £60 each per child taken out of school without permission.

This rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days, and after 28 days parents can be prosecuted.

Some unlucky parents have been handed community work, fined several thousand pounds and even given suspended jail time. Readers took to the Echo’s Facebook page to back Southend Council’s stance.

Tracey Holmes said: “How can you play God with kids’ holidays? Some parents get block holidays and have no choice and even if you fill in a holiday form, it gets declined so sort the system out so it’s fair.

“Schools take more time off than anybody what with teacher training days let alone six weeks holiday and go on shut down when we get a bit snow. Where is the justice?”

Tiffany Bryan posted: “Of course parents are going to take their children out of school during term time and risk paying the fee. Even if the fee is issued it would still be so much cheaper taking them out during term time, than taking the children on holiday during school holidays where prices are doubled if not more.”

Southend Council was asked for comment.

Sally de Ferranti said staggered holidays for UK schools might help the problem.

She said: “I am the owner of two holiday homes in Scotland, two thirds of my rental income for the year comes from school holidays (July and August). I would love to do it cheaper but it is a question of supply and demand also bearing in mind I am responsible for the upkeep of the properties all year round.

“ If school holidays weren’t all at the same time pressure on bookings would be reduced and my prices would be much less.”