HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 c1538
25. Sir H. Harrison

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has received from local authorities in East Suffolk for grants towards maintenance of rural bus services in the county; and what grants are currently being paid in respect of each service.

Mr. Peyton

A local authority is not required to notify me in advance of proposals for assisting rural bus services, but I understand that the East Suffolk County Council is currently paying some £7,000 a year in grant to which the Exchequer contributes half.

Sir H. Harrison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is becoming an increasing social problem in rural areas because under Conservative prosperity more and more people own their own cars, leaving a small, hard core of elderly people. This means that bus companies cannot run buses because they run at a loss. Will he consider licensing small, one-man buses to cope with some of this need locally?

Mr. Peyton

I am well aware of the problem, and I am hoping that the legislative programme will permit me before too long to put some of my proposals before the House.