§ 1. Sir Hector Monro
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with the local authorities and the independent bus operators on the Scotmap proposals; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Allan Stewart)
I welcome the Scotmap objectives of providing more cost-efficient bus services, better tailored to local needs. Detailed proposals arising from Scotmap studies are, however, for discussion between the bus company and the local authority concerned.
§ Sir Hector Monro
Is my hon. Friend aware that if these rationalisation proposals go through they will have a serious impact on the local independent bus companies, on which the rural communities rely? Is he further aware that there will be serious inconvenience to the travelling public?
§ Mr. Stewart
I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of the independent operators, especially in rural communities. Detailed decisions affecting his constituency are, of course, for the Western SMT and the regional council, and I have no doubt that they will take full note of my hon. Friend's comments.
§ Mr. Corrie
What effect is the phasing out of the new bus grant having on bus services? Is my hon. Friend not worried that, with a lot of older buses on the roads, there will be a lack of safety standards among those buses?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am happy completely to reassure my hon. Friend about safety. On the SBG's finances, we believe that the existing target of 4½ per cent. per annum on net fixed assets is moderate and reasonable.