HC Deb 27 July 1944 vol 402 cc945-6

Lords Amendment: In page 30, line 30, leave out: more than three miles measured by the nearest available route from" and insert: not within walking distance of.

Mr. Butler

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The advantage of this Amendment and the one next to it, with which the Government recommend the House to agree, is that we are substantially altering the present law in regard to the statutory distance within which it is necessary for a child to be if it is obliged to walk. If the House will look at the Amendment to page 31, line 15 it will be seen that this is an improvement on the present law in this respect, that it causes children under the age of eight years to be obliged statutorily to walk less than they are obliged to walk now. This matter has been under consideration for some time, and we gave some small attention to it in the course of the passage of this Bill through the House. I think it would be wise for the House to accept this Amendment because I believe that that distance is quite far enough for children of that age to have to walk, and in that respect the law will be improved. It is also interesting to note that a number of local education authorities—and not only what I would call the more enlightened authorities—prescribe a shorter distance than the present three mile limit in their by-laws. I have a list of them here and they differentiate in a number of cases far the younger children. There are some 16 out of 62 county authorities which make such a differentiation in their by-laws at present. If the House accepts this Amendment, we shall have altered the law in respect of children under eight years of age to the extent mentioned in the Amendment.

Question put, and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment in page 31, line 15, agreed to.