HC Deb 10 March 1982 vol 19 cc840-1
18. Mr. Dubs

Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received in favour of his introduction of legislation allowing the Greater London Council to continue its present low fares policy; and how many representations he has received that he should not do so.

Mr. David Howell

Not surprisingly, the GLC's £250,000 publicity campaign providing Londoners with coupons and pre-paid postcards has produced several hundred items of post for me. Since the campaign has concealed the fact that the low fares policy would mean pouring an extra £1,200 million into London Transport, and since it neither explains to old-age pensioners and others that this sum would come out of their pockets nor provides them with coupons to give me their views about this aspect, it is also not surprising that I have not received many representations against low fares.

Mr. Dubs

Is the Minister aware that his reply is insulting to the intelligence and common sense of the people of London? Is not the overwhelming view of the people of London in support of the continuation of the GLC's "Fares Fair" policy? Is it not time that he took note of the wishes of the people of London?

Mr. Howell

It is a pity that the hon. Gentleman talks in terms of insult. If there is any insult to anyone's intelligence, it is the putting forward of a programme of low fares without facing the question "Who pays?" When the question of "Who pays?" is examined, it transpires that an additional heavy burden falls on ratepayers, combined with a heavy deterrent to jobs and employment in central London and an additional burden on pensioners. I cannot believe that it is sensible that the people of London should be asked to view only half the problem.

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