HC Deb 01 December 1986 vol 106 cc621-2
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement on the implementation of the Transport Act 1986.

Mr. Moore

As I have already said, I am encouraged by the way deregulation of local bus services has been implemented. I have also been greatly impressed by the way in which local authorities have implemented the system of competitive tendering for subsidised services which is provided for in the Act.

Mrs. Bottomley

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the new system is already beginning to show savings to local authorities over subsidised services? Has he had time to consult my hon. and close Friend the Minister responsible for roads and traffic about his inaugural ride on the Haslemere town bus, which is one of two new bus services in my constituency, which have been introduced since deregulation, with a considerable saving to the ratepayers?

Mr. Moore

My hon. Friend is right. There have been substantial savings of approximately £40 million a year. The savings in the Surrey area appear to be about £1 million a year. I do not have such a close relationship with the Minister responsible for public safety, roads and traffic as does my hon. Friend, but despite that we have communicated on that subject.

Mr. Robert Hughes

As the Minister of State has admitted that there has probably been an over-registration of commercial services, will the right hon. Gentleman discuss with the authorities concerned the possibility of providing more money to make up the existing shortfall as well as the expected shortfall in socially desirable services?

Mr. Moore

In the debate last week my hon. Friend the Minister of State made it quite clear that there might be some marginal impact on costs, but nothing like the £40 million in savings that has already come from the more effective tendering for subsidised services.