HC Deb 27 February 1984 vol 55 c12
19. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what account he took of the effect on fares and passengers when setting the level of approval subsidy to London transport for 1984–85.

Mrs. Chalker

If, as I assume, the hon. Member is referring to the level of expenditure which we have protected from legal challenge under the Transport Act 1983, I can tell him that my right hon. Friend has made it clear that this figure should not make necessary any substantial increases in fares beyond the general level of inflation.

Mr. Dubs

Does the Minister agree that, if she were to take an objective and dispassionate view of fares in London and passengers on London transport since the Labour-controlled GLC introduced its cheaper fares policy, she would find that the outcome has been that increased passengers and reduced congestion have been so beneficial that the only doubt is as to how much lower fares should go?

Mrs. Chalker

The hon. Gentleman takes no account of the increased burden that is being placed on the ratepayers of London, and the problems that that causes for industry and jobs in London. If he looks at the recent figures which his hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) and I have been debating in Committee, he will find that there has been a large measure of creative accounting. Until we get to the bottom of what the GLC is really doing, the contention of the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Dubs) has no substance.