HC Deb 16 January 1984 vol 52 c6
4. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will limit transport supplementary grant to capital expenditure.

Mrs. Chalker

I am considering the future of TSG and I shall be consulting the local authority associations in a month or two.

Mr. Miller

In considering the future of the TSG, will my hon. Friend take account of concern about the widespread variations between regions, and between local authorities within a region, on the percentage of their accepted capital expenditure that is covered by the TSG? I cite Hereford and Worcester as an obvious example. Will my hon. Friend also take account of the opinion that part of the underspend is attributable to that and also to the manipulation of the threshold?

Mrs. Chalker

I appreciate the widespread concern being expressed about the variations. However, when looking at the per capita spending, authority by authority, I must conclude that some areas will need more resources in the second half of the decade than they have received in the past. That, by implication, obviously means that others will have reduced resources.

We are still considering the future of TSG, and I shall come back to the House on that matter. We wish to encourage sensible spending of capital and revenue and to make sure that the authorities which have not raised their fares year by year in line with inflation are conscious of the increasing and damaging burden that they are placing on the ratepayers.

Mr. Barron

When the Minister considers the transport supplementary grant, will she bear in mind that the authorities which she has just mentioned receive very few complaints from the many thousands who travel on the transport services in those areas? Will she have full consultations with those passengers, and with the ratepayers in those areas, before she takes any decision about altering the TSG?

Mrs. Chalker

That is exactly what we propose. As I said in my first reply, we propose to have discussions with the local authority associations.