HC Deb 13 April 1972 vol 834 cc1418-9
16. Dr. Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the report of the working party on school transport will be available.

Mrs. Thatcher

The working party has only just been established. It is too early to forecast how long it will take to complete its work.

Dr. Marshall

Will this report be published?

Mrs. Thatcher

I expect there commendations to be published. I shall consider whether the report will be published when I receive it. I wish it to be a comprehensive report, and I cannot undertake that it will make an early appearance.

Mr. Hicks

Could my right hon. Friend confirm that the terms of reference of this working party include full consultations with the Department of the Environment and counties and authorities concerned with the whole future of transport in rural areas, because probably one facet of the situation could help in resolving another?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, the Department of the Environment will be represented on the working party, and matters which will fall to be included in the review include the present statutory walking distances, danger to children from traffic hazards, the burden on parents of increased public transport fares, the growing public expenditure on school transport and the use by local education authorities of their discretion in the provision of transport. I hope that both the composition of the Committee and its terms of reference will meet my hon. Friend's approval.