HC Deb 11 November 1970 vol 806 cc372-3
16. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to decrease the mileage from three to two miles for qualifying for free bus travelling for pupils attending secondary schools.

Mr. Edward Taylor

No, Sir. Education authorities already have discretion under the statute to provide transport within the prescribed limit where they think that the circumstances warrant it and my right hon. Friend has had no representations from them for any change in the law.

Mr. Hamilton

Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that many parents with three or four children attending secondary schools are finding it very difficult indeed to meet the increased bus fares which now prevail, and is he further aware that children who are aged over 15 have to pay the full fares? Would he not think that the Government should now attempt to do something about it and send out circulars to local authorities suggesting to them that it is Government policy to do as is suggested in my Question?

Mr. Taylor

I think it would be wrong to make a general change in the Statute, but I would again emphasise that local authorities have a general discretion if they wish to provide free transport, irrespective of distance. Some authorities, admittedly, work rather strictly to the limits, but others operate with larger limits.

Mr. Brewis

Would it not help very much if the Government abolished B.S.T., which adds to the difficulties of children in the mornings?

Mr. Taylor

I think that that is a rather different question.

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