HC Deb 28 June 1951 vol 489 cc1576-7
41. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Minister of Education if his attention has been drawn to the case in which the education committee of a county council has provided a bicycle for the use of a schoolboy whose bad behaviour has made it undesirable for him to travel in the school omnibus; and if he will take action to prevent or discourage local education authorities from this waste of public money.

Mr. Hardman

No, Sir. I have, however, been making inquiries and am writing to the hon. and gallant Member about this case, which presents certain unusual and difficult features not disclosed in the newspaper reports.

Brigadier Medlicott

Does the Minister not recall, though perhaps not necessarily from his own experience, that a bicycle for a small boy was at one time a mark of good conduct or for some praise-worthy achievement? What are we coming to when public money is spent in rewarding and even encouraging bad behaviour?

Mr. Hardman

When the hon. and gallant Gentleman has received the facts which I shall send him he will discover that there are very good reasons indeed why this provision has been made, and he will deplore certain newspaper comments upon the case. The reason why the details are not being given now is that this is an extremely personal matter and, if given, would be detrimental to the boy.

Earl Winterton

Would the hon. Gentleman consider, in the case of this antisocial child, whether there is not a danger of his breaking his neck if he rides a bicycle? Would he consider whether it would not be better to provide him with a tricycle or a pram? Will the hon. Gentleman give serious consideration to that?

Brigadier Clarke

Will the Minister consider the provision of a bicycle for the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)?

Mr. Hardman

It has been suggested that tricycles and prams should be provided. We will see that they are supplied under educational provision for those hon. Members opposite who have asked the questions.