HC Deb 19 December 1963 vol 686 cc1423-5
22. Mr. Box

asked the Minister of Education what reply he has given to Cardiff Trades Council's letter of 5th December dealing with the provision of school transport in the City of Cardiff.

Sir E. Boyle

A reply was sent to Cardiff Trades Council on 17th December, 1963, informing it of the measures taken by Cardiff Education Committee and a joint sub-committee of the Tran-port and Education Committees of Cardiff City Council. These include the staggering of attendance hours at certain secondary schools for an experimental period and the provision of special buses and extra buses on service routes additional to those already provided to serve the requirements of school children.

Mr. Box

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this has become a very serious problem not only in the City of Cardiff but, I imagine, in other big towns throughout the United Kingdom? Will the Ministry of Education liaise more closely with the local authority to find a satisfactory solution? Despite the meetings and despite the answer which he has given, the fact remains that many parents are deeply concerned because their children have to hang about, particularly in the winter months, for long hours waiting for buses? This is a national problem which needs a national solution.

Sir E. Boyle

I have consulted my Welsh Office about this. There is a particular local problem here. The rebuilding of some local secondary schools has meant that they have had to be sited on the outskirts of the city. I am in close touch with the matter, I assure my hon. Friend.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since I and the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Box) tabled Questions on this subject I have been informed that there are to be eight extra services in the morning and 11 at night, and that we shall watch this carefully to see if this great problem will be overcome? Without doubt, it has caused a great deal of anxiety.

Sir E. Boyle

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for being more up-to-date than I am. There was a deputation only the day before yesterday and I have not yet learnt the full results.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he has not followed his usual courtesy? Is he aware that I sent him a letter about this matter? I sent it in English and in plenty of time.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Perhaps it was in the mail bag.

Mr. G. Thomas

One hopes that the reply will be better than the transport service. When am I likely to get an answer to forward to Cardiff Trades Council? We all realise that the staggering of school hours will be a major contribution towards the solution of this problem.

Sir E. Boyle

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman and I will see that he gets a letter to read in Christmas week on this subject.