HC Deb 01 March 1978 vol 945 cc457-8
26. Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has had from the East Sussex County Council concerning the transport supplementary grant.

Mr. Horam

The council's chief executive wrote to the Department on 18th January about the transport supplementary grant settlement for 1978–79. A reply was sent to him on 26th January.

Mr. Johnson Smith

Leaving aside the Minister's totally unjustified attack on the council's alleged lack of support for public transport and the fact that his transport supplementary grant policy tends to undermine local government autonomy will the hon. Gentleman explain how he can rectify a situation in which a local authority has to submit to him its transport expenditure proposals six months before it has agreed its total budget?

Mr. Horam

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the arrangements by which the transport supplementary grant is settled. It is essentially a supplementary grant on top of the rate support grant, which is the main support for transport policies. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's point has the validity that he suggests. I must regret, once again that East Sussex is one of the Conservative-controlled councils that has reduced its support for bus revenue in the next financial year.