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School Children (Reduced Fares)

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that owing to the increase in the school-leaving age parents of children in boarding schools at a distance from home are penalised by the fact that during the last year at school such children are not allowed to travel on British Railways at the reduced fares earlier available to them as schoolchildren, and if he will now consult with the British Transport Commission with a view to the introduction of reduced fares for children of school-leaving age.

If local education authorities consider that a child needs boarding education, they have power to help the parents with the travelling expenses as well as with the fees. I cannot interfere with the discretion of fare-fixing bodies to decide on fare concessions.

Does the Minister realise that this widow's dilemma, of which I have informed him, may deprive the boy of his last year at school, and will he consult the appropriate authorities with a view to avoiding that loss to the boy?

The authority is the Aberdeen authority. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman has some means of representing his case to them.

If the Minister dissents, as I imagine he does, from the view that transport is a social service—it is a means of conveying of people from place to place—will he have consultations with his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Labour to see whether the cost of transport from home to school, and from place of residence to place of employment, can be set against Income Tax?