To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of children in rural England who no longer have access to free school transport as a result of cutbacks to free transport services by local councils; and what is their policy on the provision of school transport in rural areas.
The government does not centrally collect data on the number of children who receive free transport.
Local authorities consistently spend approximately £1 billion per year on home to school transport.
Local authorities must provide free transport from home to school for eligible children. This includes transport for those who attend their nearest suitable school where it is beyond the statutory walking distances of two miles for children under eight years old and three miles for those aged eight to 16. They must also provide transport where there is no safe walking route. Approximately 60% of this funding is spent on transport for children with special educational needs.