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Transport Services

Volume 499: debated on Thursday 24 April 1952

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17.

asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware that cuts in the transport services for schoolchildren have resulted in children being denied schooling; and if she will give an assurance that she will refuse her sanction to such proposals.

No, Sir. My advice to local education authorities in Circular 242 was designed to eliminate unnecessary expenditure on school transport, in particular where free transport was being provided without special justification for children living nearer to school than the distances prescribed in the Education Act, 1944. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.

18.

asked the Minister of Education the estimated cost in the year 1951 of transport facilities provided for schoolchildren in England and Wales.

Would the Minister agree that this service was first instituted mainly in order to avoid road accidents to children on their way to and from school, and that now the service has been considerably curtailed by many local authorities many parents are increasingly anxious about the possibility of danger to life and limb for their children on their way to and from school? Would it be practicable or possible to make a grant from the Road Fund to this service in order that local authorities may be more generous in the provision of school buses?

As I have already said, the transport regulations for such purposes are laid down in the Act of 1944. At the present moment, the estimate is £4,750,000, and, in 1949, when my predecessor thought the amount was too high and sent a circular to local authorities asking them to cut it down, it was then £2,250,000.