HC Deb 10 April 1973 vol 854 cc1123-4
14. Mr. Redmond

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she can yet announce the findings of her working party on school transport.

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir.

Mr. Redmond

While obviously the work of the working party should be thorough and in the end right rather than quick, may I ask whether we can hope for a quick decision on this matter before the new school year starts? If a decision is made we will not have the upheaval which we had at the beginning of the present school year, which was caused because parents could not understand the nonsense.

Mrs. Thatcher

I doubt whether any decision will come in time for the new school year. I understand that the working party is coming up against the difficulty that it is taking longer than it had thought to get from all the local authorities the necessary factual information about their transport practice. Most of the information has now been received, and the working party has recently heard oral statements of evidence from the representatives of nine remaining organisations. I still doubt whether the result will be out before the end of the next school year.

Mr. Terry Davis

Will the right hon. Lady publish the names of the authorities which have been so slow in producing the facts?

Mrs. Thatcher

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is being a little critical of the authorities. They have on their hands a complete local government reorganisa- tion as well as many of the demands which we are now making upon them. It would be better if we took that factor into account.