HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 c1640
20. Dr. Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will use her power under Section 55(1) of the Education Act, 1944, to direct the West Riding Education Authority to provide free transport to school for secondary schoolchildren who live in Old Goole.

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir. I would not feel justified in giving a direction to the authority in this matter, which is essentially one for local decision.

Dr. Marshall

In view of the right hon. Lady's Written Answer of 7th March to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Scott-Hopkins), will the proposed working party look especially at the case of Old Goole, where the only available route to school is by a congested and dangerous classified road which runs for six-tenths of a mile across the dock estate?

Mrs. Thatcher

The conditions present in Old Goole are the kinds of conditions that the working party will take into account in considering the provision of transport to school.

Mr. Fry

When considering the provision of free transport will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the many areas where public transport is almost non existent, and where the cost of sending children to school is now very high?

Mrs. Thatcher

It is right that the working party should look not only at specific provisions and difficulties but also at the statutory provisions relating to transport to school. I hope that all of these will be properly considered.

Mr. Edward Short

May I, for once, congratulate the right hon. Lady on accepting the proposal from this side of the House, on the last occasion on which the right hon. Lady answered Questions, to set up a working party on school transport?

Mrs. Thatcher

May I also congratulate some of my hon. Friends, who have similar views and have very much welcomed this working party? Indeed many of them have proposed it for quite a long time.