HC Deb 09 February 1988 vol 127 cc287-307 10.17 pm
The Minister for Public Transport (Mr. David Mitchell)

Mr. Speaker, I think it may be for the convenience of the House to take the three orders for West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside together.

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

I think that is not with the agreement of the House.

Mr. Mitchell

If it is not for the convenience of the House to take the three orders together, perhaps it would be for the convenience of the House to take the Greater Manchester and the West Yorkshire orders together. I trust that that is agreeable to the House.

Mr. Speaker

Is that agreeable to the House? Hon. Members: Aye.

Mr. Speaker

So be it.

Mr. Mitchell

I beg to move, That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved. As the House has just agreed, we are also considering the next motion: That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved. I think that it may catch the mood of the House if I speak fairly briefly in opening the debate and then have the consent of the House to reply rather more fully to points raised in the debate.

The six English passenger transport authorities were established to take over the public transport activities of the former metropolitan counties. Under the Local Government Act 1985, those authorities were designated for automatic precept control for their first three years; 1988–89 will be the third and final year of the automatic control.

Under the precept control arrangements, the Secretary of State for Transport sets an upper limit on the amounts that the passenger transport authorities may charge local ratepayers. The legislation also provides for the Secretary of State to reach agreement with the authorities on their precept limits. I am happy to tell the House that three of the authorities—South Yorkshire, West Midlands and Tyne and Wear — have accepted the precept limits proposed by the Secretary of State, but we have not been able to agree with Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire or Merseyside passenger transport authorities. The two orders that were laid before the House on 29 January set upper limits for the precepts of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, and we will be debating a similar order for Merseyside later this evening.

These orders follow several months of discussion with the authorities on their expenditure levels and the appropriate precept limits. In the case of West Yorkshire, the expenditure was redetermined, following representations from the authority at a higher level than originally set. The figure is £61.1 million rather than £59 million that was originally proposed. The precept limit which we proposed reflected this expenditure limit. Greater Manchester, however, is somewhat different. The authority has not cancelled the precept limit proposed by the Secretary of State or put forward any arguments in favour of a different limit. It has simply said, without further explanation, that it does not accept the proposed limit.

The House may find a few figures illuminating. The maximum precepts set out in the two orders are 15.;58p for Greater Manchester and 24.;82p for West Yorkshire.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

I may have misunderstood what the Minister said. Could he repeat the figures relating to what West Yorkshire has sought under the order and what it has received?

Mr. Mitchell

In the case of West Yorkshire, I have said that the expenditure level was redetermined, following representations from the authority, at a higher level than that originally set, at £60.1 million rather than £59 million. During the debate I will check that there has not been a typing error on my copy of the brief.

Mr. Hughes

I should be grateful if the Minister would do that.

Mr. Mitchell

I take it that the hon. Gentleman wants to have the figures checked. I will make sure that they are made clear. In the meantime, the House may find a few figures illuminating.

The maximum precepts set out in the two orders are 15.58p for Greater Manchester and 24.8p for West Yorkshire. As we shall be discussing later, the similar order for Merseyside proposes a precept limit of 27p. It is interesting to compare the maximum precepts proposed for these authorities and those for the other three passenger transport authorities that have agreed on maxima. For both Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, the figures specified in the orders represent a slight increase on the precepts that were set last year, and for Merseyside a fall of less than 5 per cent. is proposed. South Yorkshire passenger transport authority, on the other hand, has agreed to a precept limit that is down 11 per cent. on last year, and Tyne and Wear's report is reduced by almost a third.

Although an increase was agreed for the West Midlands passenger transport authority, it is, at 10.74p, considerably lower than those proposed for the three authorities for which orders are now proposed. West Midlands also continues to have the lowest per capita expenditure on public transport of any of the metropolitan areas. It cannot be claimed, therefore, that we have discriminated against the authorities that have failed to agree precept limits with us.

I hope that that opening statement will be helpful to the House as an initial statement of the present position. I will intervene again, with the leave of the House to give further information.

It may be helpful to remind hon. Members that since precept control has been introduced we have seen the most tremendous change in the efficiency of undertakings operating in the precept-controlled areas. For example, in Greater Manchester, under the pressures of financial control, the bus company has improved efficiency by no less than 23.5 per cent. It is an astonishing indicator of the level of efficiency that operated prior to the advent of both deregulation and precept control that there was so much fat within the organisation that it was capable of making reductions of that sort.

In my earlier comments I referred to certain figures, and the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes), who leads for the Opposition in these matters, questioned whether I had the figures right. He was perfectly right so to do. It looks as though there was an error in the typing. I have to say that the original expenditure limit was £57 million and it has been redetermined at £59.1 million. I am sure that the House is grateful to the hon. Gentleman for having spotted that so early in the course of our deliberations.

10.26 pm
Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

I must begin by commending the Minister of State for his remarks in correcting the figures. He was very kind to say that it was bright of me to spot the error. Perhaps I made an error of judgment. If I had remained quiet, West Yorkshire might have got its £61.2 million. However, it is always best to be accurate in these matters because I have no doubt that the figure is determined by what is in the order and not what is in the speeches.

The Minister of State, in introducing the orders, made great play of the fact that there had been agreement with three of the passenger transport authorities and that it has been necessary only to have precept orders on three. I do not find that any cause for satisfaction, because, when these matters have been discussed at Question Time and on other occasions, the Minister of State has been very fond of saying that there are great savings, that the 1985 Act has brought great benefit and that everything is going well.

The fact that the Secretary of State and the Minister of State have to impose precept orders shows they are imposing expenditure levels on the PTAs. If there are to be financial savings this year, it is not because the PTAs want them but because they have been imposed by the Government. It is the old story as far as West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester are concerned—we will come to Merseyside later. It is a question of "Whitehall rules, OK" yet again, and local accountability and decision making are dismissed out of hand.

The Minister of State pointed out that, under the West Yorkshire precept limitation order for 1988–89, the expenditure level will be £59.1 million. It is interesting to note that in 1986–87, the expenditure limit was £61.3 million. Admittedly, West Yorkshire's initial budget was for £69.8 million, but under some pressure and after some discussion it eventually raised an appeal on the ground that it would like the same expenditure limit as 1986–87. If it had got that, it would have meant in cash terms the same as 1986–87 but would have represented a 9.;6 per cent. cut in real terms in the expenditure necessary to do the job.

The Minister of State will have to get his Department in some sort of order, because the West Yorkshire PTA wrote on 13 January appealing against the proposed maximum precept. On 29 January, Mr. Goldman of the Department of Transport wrote simply to say that the Secretary of State had concluded that a maximum precept of 24.82p should be confirmed. Councillor Simmons received a letter dated 1 February from the Minister of State saying that the points made in Councillor Simmons's letter of 14 January would be taken into account.

On the face of it, the letter was dated three days after the appeal had been turned down. It is not always easy to be fair, but I want to be fair to the Minister and accept that the letter was received on the 26th or 27th, and someone from the Department had to telephone West Yorkshire and say, "Please change the date on the letter. It was not sent on 1 February; that was a mistake. It was really sent on 26 January." But it looks as though all the letters were typed out, and all the decisions were made, in advance, and the poor civil servant who had to send the letters out simply got the scheduling wrong and put the wrong date on them. As they might say in the Merchant Navy, the Minister is not running a very tight ship. Perhaps he had better try to sort that out.

It is not enough to say, "We have reached agreement with most of the authorities, or with half of them." The Minister has given us no justification for altering the position relating to the requirements of West Yorkshire, even on the much-reduced figure. We must take into account the fact that West Yorkshire wanted to support extra tendered services during holidays and late periods. It wanted to improve the standards of local rail services, and to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance on the property. Surely the Minister will accept that deferring maintenance, both on trunk roads and on buildings, is a false economy, and I hope that he will take that into account.

Undoubtedly, the system contains a great deal of instability, although the Minister refuses to recognise that. Already this year, West Yorkshire has had to find £1.5 million to replace deregistered commercial services with tendered services. That is likely to happen again next year, perhaps on a greater scale, but no money is available. If the services are deregistered, early-morning, evening and weekend services, which involve shift workers, will be affected. Services cannot be maintained with the present finances.

Much the same pattern applies to Greater Manchester, which initially applied for a redetermination of £89.5 million. The order allows for an expenditure limit of £80.6 million, £9.5 million below the appeal determination. But the draft budget was for £94.8 million. The 1985 Act does not produce the savings. Even if there is more efficiency, as I accept that there may be, the 1985 Act is not producing the savings that the Minister has mentioned, against the imposition of severe cash limits on authorities' expenditure.

There is no room for expansion in the system. There is instability in Greater Manchester, which is being notified of about 30 service changes a week, many of which involve service withdrawals by operators. That has to be made up. If the authority does not respond quickly to replace the services, the result is a reduction in the existing network and increased hardship for the users.

The same is true everywhere. In Greater Manchester, there will be considerable pressure on concessionary fare levels. The dilemma being faced by the authorities is whether to force up the level of concessionary fares to an unacceptable level, or chop services elsewhere. They will have to do one of the two. Frequency reductions may well mean a cut in section 20 grants to British Rail. Greater Manchester is already budgeting for a £2 million to £3 million cut in section 20 grants next year. That is bad for British Rail. We shall be back in the downward spiral that we know only too well of reduced frequency of services on the railways, higher fares and fewer passengers.

I can only conclude that the Government either do not understand what is happening or that they do understand what is happening but are refusing to face up to their responsibilities. They insist that the Transport Act 1985 is working, so they cannot give way in any shape or form because that would represent failure.

The Minister pointed out that this is the last year of automatic precept control. If my information is correct, discussions are going on about the future financing of the PTAs. Great alarm is being expressed at the proposition that in future the district authorities will be entitled to opt out of the PTA system. If he allows that to happen, he will destroy all the integrated transport services that have been built up over the years. Everyone agrees that there should be proper arrangements between road, rail and other forms of transport. Opting out will destroy such arrangements. I hope that the Government will not say, as they have said about the Inner London education authority, first, that they will allow opting out, and then that that will create chaos so the PTAs must go.

Is that the secret agenda? Is the Minister determined to break up the PTAs? If he believes in the PTAs and in integration, believes that they do a good job, and believes his own words about the betterment of efficiency, he should put our minds at rest as soon as possible.

We shall vote against the orders tonight, not because we want to stop the authorities having the money, but simply to demonstrate that we do not think that the Minister has played fair with them.

10.36 pm
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

This has been an extremely bleak week for West Yorkshire. Last night we debated reductions in funding for West Yorkshire's police, fire service and civil defence. Tonight we are once again faced with the difficulties of a deteriorating public transport system for the people of West Yorkshire because of the Government's unwillingness to give the West Yorkshire PTA adequate funds to develop a satisfactory service.

The effects of the Government's decision were spelled out clearly by Councillor Michael Simmons, the chairman of the authority, in a report in the Bradford Telegraph and Angus. He said: There will be two major consequences. There will be a reduction in the services we support in areas which don't have profitable services, and because there will be a drastic reduction in the support we are giving generally, fewer drivers and maintenance men will be required". Councillor Simmons said that about 200 jobs would be lost throughout West Yorkshire as a result of the decision. As a Member sponsored by the Transport and General Workers Union, I urge the Government to reconsider their decision because unemployment in our region is considerably above the national average and there is no way we can countenance the loss of 200 jobs in any part of the local economy, least of all in passenger transport.

Mr. David Mitchell

I should like to help the hon. Gentleman if I can. Exactly how will 200 jobs be lost? I have not followed the logic of that.

Mr. Madden

That is the view expressed by Councillor Simmons in the report to which I referred. He has predicted that 200 jobs will be lost in the authority for which he is responsible; that is the view that he has expressed in letters to hon. Members and expressed in representations to the Government when he appealed against the Department of Transport's determination.

In the same report, he says: another casualty of the squeeze would be a hoped-for expansion of Access, West Yorkshire's pioneering service for the disabled. The Government publicly proclaim their support for disabled people and their determination to improve services for them, yet the chairman of the authority is saying that there will be an adverse impact on services for disabled people.

In a letter to hon. Members dated 14 January, Councillor Simmonds refers to the halving of our planned expenditure for people with disabilities, both those for whom special Access Bus services have been introduced and those able with difficulty to use conventional services. The article in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus continues: We feel very bitter about this. I can only think that the Minister does not realise how people depend on public transport in this area. As a result of his decision passengers and people who work for the authority will suffer. The Government do not realise the extent to which my constituents, and those of almost every hon. Member who represents a west Yorkshire constituency, depend on public transport. In my constituency, as many as 70 per cent. of my constituents do not have a car. They depend directly on public transport for getting to work, if they are fortunate enough to have a job, and for all other purposes. Under this Government they have experienced a steady deterioration in bus services and in passenger transport services generally. For a number of years, the Government have refused to give the authority adequate funds to enable it to improve services.

The document that the West Yorkshire passenger transport authority published in early January — the appeal against maximum precept—sets out clearly the impact that this decision will have on the authority. I do not have time to go through all the matters involved, but I should like to refer to some aspects that cause general concern.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) referred to concessionary fares. In that regard, the document says: The small reductions in this expenditure heading are a consequence of the reduction in tendered services leading to loss of travel by elderly and disabled persons. It is clear that there are pressures on concessionary fares and there is a danger that many elderly and disabled people will experience a deterioration in the services available to them.

The document refers to passenger facilities: In order to meet the budget proposed the planned programme of maintenance and refurbishment of bus stations has had to be curtailed. Typical work to be deferred includes:

Bradford Interchange: Renewal of plant room roofing
Renewal of escalator chain wheels
Upgrading of air conditioning and refurbishment of filters (MetroChange House)
Refurbishment of MetroChange House toilets
Remedial work to blockwork walls
Energy conservation (1st year of 3 year programme)
Huddersfield: Renewal of floor covering, phase 1
All Bus Stations: Improvement of Information Displays Further improvements to access and facilities for disabled people

Although there is no question of endangering public safety, the Authority and Executive are very concerned that financial constraints are forcing them deliberately to allow the fabric of their assets to deteriorate because of insufficient maintenance, leading to increased costs when the work is eventually done. Year after year, services for people living in west Yorkshire have been considerably worse than those for people living in other areas. The people of West Yorkshire have been penalised year after year. As they were penalised in yesterday's debate on the police, fire services and civil defence, so they have been penalised with regard to transport services.

The document continues: If West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority were to receive the same average EL per capita as all other PTAs an Expenditure Level of £65.0 million with a precept of 28.92p would result. As the Authority has demonstrated in each previous application for redetermination, West Yorkshire ratepayers are penalised by the fact that the GRE assessments do not accurately reflect spending needs in West Yorkshire, largely because of its far lower density of population at ward level than other PTAs. That is the reality of the situation. My constituents and other ratepayers throughout West Yorkshire are deeply disturbed at the deterioration in services that they see across the board. They recognise that the party that is responsible is the Government, who have consistently refused to provide proper funds to enable West Yorkshire, which faces considerable problems, to have a range of passenger transport services which are adequate for the 1980s. They recognise that the restraints and difficulties that the passenger transport authority has faced over a number of years are the direct responsibility of the Government, who do not really care about the people of West Yorkshire, their transport services or the facilities available to them.

10.45 pm
Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax)

I should like to reiterate some of the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) and to say how bitterly disappointed I am at the limit that the Minister has set. Regular bus users have seen a regular deterioration in their service in Halifax due to deregulation and the grant that is made available. We are experiencing all kinds of problems.

The Government's refusal to increase West Yorkshire's passenger transport expenditure limit to the amount required even to maintain this deteriorating service is bad news for my constituents, who rely heavily on public transport. They fear, with some justification, that the shortfall could lead to a loss of subsidised evening, early morning and Sunday services and to fewer routes.

There is no doubt that that is a worry, because it will lead to more measures to make things even more unreliable for the users and for people who will inevitably become even more isolated. I am talking about groups such as the elderly and women, who are locked into the surrounding villages, who rely on public transport and who have no other means of communication.

I do not want to repeat too many of the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West, but there is a real fear among my constituents in Halifax that the concessionary fares system is threatened. I ask the Minister to take that fear seriously.

I should like to talk briefly about rail services.

Mr. Martin M. Brandon-Bravo (Nottingham, South)


Mrs. Mahon

I wanted to be brief.

Mr. Brandon-Bravo

I am most grateful. I do not come from the hon. Lady's area. I gather that she represents Halifax and that the hon. Gentleman who preceded her is from Bradford. I wonder whether, from her knowledge of the area, she can explain why the two cities that they have described need rate subsidy when, for example, a fairly large city such as the one that I am privileged to represent —Nottingham—a conurbation of about 600,000, makes a trading surplus of about £1 million which allows it to replace its fleet in a proper organised way and to pay a dividend back to the city of Nottingham rather than ask for a contribution from the ratepayers? What is the difference between the two cities that the hon. Members have described and the one that I am privileged to represent?

Mrs. Mahon

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention but, actually, I do not represent a city. His knowledge of geography is a little flawed. We have particular problems and if the hon. Gentleman knew anything about the area, I am sure that he would know what I am talking about.

I should like to talk briefly about rail services. A significant number of my constituents in Halifax use the two stations, Halifax and Sowerby Bridge, for commuting to work in the neighbouring cities of Bradford, Leeds and Manchester—some of the biggest conurbations.

Under the policies of the now abolished West Yorkshire county council, and its successor, the authority we are now discussing — both Labour-controlled —services in west Yorkshire have been improved and usage has massively increased. However, Government expenditure cuts have already meant two-car trains replacing three-car trains, giving rise to appalling overcrowding. I am sure that that would be a major political issue if it happened in the south-east. The inadequate expenditure limits being proposed will make matters even worse, and future proposals to develop rail services— including a possible new train service from Bradford and Halifax to Brighouse, Huddersfield and Sheffield — might be abandoned. We needed the £5 million suggested by Councillor Simmons — to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West referred—to make that new service a reality.

We are already suffering from the Government's disastrous deregulation laws. Staff morale is low. Wages have been cut, and staff have to work arduous shifts that are dangerous in a public transport system. Everyone should be concerned about that—not least the Minister, his staff and all Conservative Members — in view of what happened at King's Cross.

I implore the House to oppose these limits. They are wholly inadequate for the purpose of giving my constituents in Halifax, and all the people of West Yorkshire, the decent public transport service we need.

10.52 pm
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

I speak as chairman of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. Immediately before the debate commenced, I raised a point of order to draw to the House's attention the extract from the fifth report of the Joint Committee, which is now in the Vote Office. I had to do that because the Government's timetable did not allow our Committee full and proper time to consider the instruments. That is an outrage. The Joint Committee was established specifically to consider not the merits of the instruments, but whether the powers granted to the Minister are being abused, whether the instruments are ambiguous or badly drafted, and so on.

In the report, we say: the Committee accepts that there were good reasons for the Department's acting promptly". That is because, if the Department had not produced the order now, it might well have had to produce a draft interim order to help the passenger transport authorities to meet their budgets. But this shows defective organisation on the part of the Department and its civil servants in not planning earlier, so as to allow the Committee enough time in which to consider the instrument. If we want to report an instrument, we are obliged by the House to ask the Department to present evidence to the Committee, perhaps in the form of a written memorandum. The Department would be upset if we reported the instrument without providing it with that opportunity.

We meet weekly, and ours is not a glamorous Committee. It is one of the small, back-room Committees established to protect the public good against abuses by Ministers. The Committee was established by the House for that purpose because of public concern. So as I said, we must approach the Department. That gives the Department a week in which to produce a memorandum. If it is unsatisfactory, we may then ask a flock of civil servants—they appear in groups of six or seven in order to succour each other — to give evidence before the Committee. That takes another week to organise. So, even if the Committee works regularly through many instruments each week the process will take a fortnight, which is not long. However, because the Committee did not have time to deal with the instruments, it could not report quickly enough.

When all is said and done, when hon. Members debate an instrument, it is not a bad thing to give notification on the Order Paper that the Committee has examined the instrument. They can then go to the Vote Office and get the report and the instrument. They will learn what the Committee has said and, if they wish, they can use such findings in the debate.

The Committee reported the order in gentle terms. In paragraph 4, the Committee states: While the Committee accepts that there were good reasons for the Department's acting promptly, it regrets that quite such a tight parliamentary timetable was necessary, particularly in respect of the Committee's own work. We make that point courteously, but the Minister should be aware that every time the Government try to bounce the Committee into producing shoddy work, in haste, they will get a tirade from me. The Statutory Instruments Joint Committee should be entitled to do the job for which it was established by the House. The Committee has a Conservative majority, and they agreed that the report should be made to the House.

I wish to consider the merits of the order, and my considerations have absolutely nothing to do with the Committee. The West Yorkshire passenger transport authority wanted a maximum rate precept of 26.5 per cent. and that would have given it the same expenditure level as 1986–87. However, as a result of the provision in the order, that authority is limited to a maximum rate precept of 24.82 per cent. The authority has also pointed out that the proportion of expenditure level met from grant will go down from 12.5 per cent. to 8 per cent. However, in other passenger transport authority areas, the proportion of expenditure funded from grant has slightly increased, on average, from 36 to 37 per cent. Naturally, West Yorkshire PTA feels that it has been badly done by.

The expenditure limit is inadequate for the needs of the authority. The authority is hard-pressed to maintain existing services. Given the amount granted in the order, the authority cannot envisage continuing to provide subsidised services at the same level in holiday periods and to introduce new late-night services to help to reduce the risk of road accidents as a result of social drinking. If the Government are concerned to reduce the injury and death toll associated with drinking and driving, I believe that they should be encouraging passenger transport authorities to provide subsidised social services. If such services are cut, it is inevitable that drinking and driving will increase and there will be more innocent victims of road accidents. That should weigh heavily on the Minister's conscience.

The authority has said that it will have to halve its planned expenditure for people with disabilities—those for whom special access bus services have been introduced and those able, with difficulty, to use conventional services. Such people do not own private cars. Indeed, they may consider that public transport is easier to use in comparison with a private car.

The authority may also have to reduce support for the highly successful Metro train network, and that will jeopardise the potential benefit of investment in new train services and stations provided by the authority and British Rail. It is interesting to note that, at the same time as the Minister is producing this order, he is trying to squeeze every local authority that contributes to the Settle-Carlisle railway. Indeed, the West Yorkshire passenger transport authority makes only a nominal contribution.

The Minister is saying that local authorities must contribute more and that the West Yorkshire passenger transport authority is a contributor, yet he is cutting the amount of money that they can spend. I think he is trying to make local authorities scapegoats for an announcement on a closure that he has in mind for the Settle-Carlisle line. If he wants to deny it, I hope he will bear it in mind when he sums up. But he cannot expect local authorities to increase their contribution to keep the Settle-Carlisle line open and at the same time cut the amount of money that they are able to spend on services.

The West Yorkshire passenger transport authority contributes only a modest sum to that fine railway. It will face the enforced postponement of essential maintenance and improvements to bus stations, which will reduce passenger amenity. Although the authorities say it will not endanger safety, it will lead to a higher cost of refurbishment in the future. It is only putting off the inevitable. With the almost total elimination of contingency reserves, the continued high level of change in bus services will mean considerable risks.

For example, in the event of unforeseen occurrences, such as bankruptcies of private bus operators or large fare increases, the increased cost of attendant services, concessionary fares and public information will not be able to be met. As my hon. Friends the Members for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) and for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) have mentioned, people are fearful that the effect of the order will be cuts in concessionary fares.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West said, maintenance work will be deferred on the Bradford interchange, which is an example, much lauded by all sides, of a bus and rail network coming together. There will be deferment of the renewal of plant-room roofing and the renewal of escalated chain wheels, so perhaps more signs will be out of use, which will cause difficulties for disabled and elderly people in particular. The upgrading of air-conditioning, the refurbishment of filters and of toilets in MetroChange house will be deferred as a result of the order. The energy conservation programme—this year would have been the first year of the three-year programme — will have to be delayed. That is absurd when the Government are advertising energy conservation programmes and supposedly encouraging them.

It boils down to J. K. Galbraith's famous aphorism of public squalor and private affluence. The Government are not prepared to provide the money for decent facilities, a decent railway network and adequate bus services with facilities for the disabled and the elderly, yet the Chancellor is almost certainly preparing tax concessions for the well off. They will be able to get around in their motor cars, while those without cars who depend upon public transport will see the orders as a blow against them and against West Yorkshire in particular.

11.3 pm

Mr. Gary Waller (Keighley)

Although I disagree fundamentally with many of the Opposition's comments, I start with a tribute to the achievements of the West Yorkshire PTA and the imagination which has been shown by the authority and its chairman, Councillor Simmons. During the past year or two the authority has moved ahead with its proposals to open a new station at Silsden and Steeton. It has already opened a station at Frizinghall and has imaginative plans to reintroduce trolley buses in the West Yorkshire conurbation. The authority is to be commended on those proposals, which will make a valuable contribution to the future of public transport in the area.

Despite all the prognostications we have heard, public transport is flourishing in our part of the world. We were told that the end of the world would come after bus deregulation, but, with a considerably reduced subsidy, the bus network is just as good as it was before. New services have come into existence.

Mrs. Mahon

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would be interested to hear about the Yelloways bus company in my constituency. The people stand back when the bus arrives because it breaks down regularly. There have been numerous letters in the local newspapers about that private bus company which has come into existence since deregulation. It is a nightmare.

Mr. David Mitchell

What did the hon. Lady say was wrong with the bus?

Mrs. Mahon

There are so many things wrong with that bus company that people now stand back and wait for the regular bus. The private bus breaks down on the moors. It has even been set on fire. There have been so many complaints that it has become a legend in its short life.

Mr. Waller

I cannot speak for the hon. Lady's area, but I have spent some time this evening in the company of the traffic commissioner for West Yorkshire. I do not wish to involve him in political controversy, but I am sure that he would take the view that there has been no deterioration in safety and reliability.

New services have come into operation in my constituency and are welcomed by people for whom public transport was not available in the past. Cross-subsidy was a wasteful form of assistance for public transport. When people can see where the support is coming from and relate it to particular services, there is a much more efficient form of support for public transport.

It is easy to suggest that, unless more money is available, concessionary fares and support for the disabled will go. It is a question of priorities. There is no need for support to be withdrawn from concessionary fares or from help for the disabled, if the passenger transport authority were to run services in a more businesslike way, as has happened in Greater London. We were told that, if fares were set at an economic level in Greater London, people would desert public transport. Quite the reverse has occurred. People have used the underground in enormous numbers. The same situation would arise in west Yorkshire.

Mr. Cryer

I am following the hon. Gentleman's argument with interest. Is he arguing that fares should be increased? Is that what he means when he uses the word "businesslike"? Is he saying that the cheap fares policy in London of "Fares Fair", having been replaced by a higher fares policy, is his solution to the transport problem? Is he now advocating higher fares for the people of Keighley? In a letter, the chairman stated clearly that, with the present precept order, services, including new stations, for example at Airedale hospital, cannot be provided. Does he disagree with the chairman?

Mr. Waller

There has not been a great increase in fares in Greater London. The Greater London council forecast that there would be a great increase in fares, that services would be reduced and that stations would close. In the long term, we would not see that in West Yorkshire. It is nonsense to have a standard fixed fare for all rail services. Many of the people who use the services in Wharfdale and Airedale would be prepared to pay an economic fare, if it meant that their services did not disappear and if it led to the end of overcrowding. Until the passenger transport authority is prepared to run its affairs in a more businesslike way, there will be no guarantee that the rail services in West Yorkshire will be maintained.

Mr. Cryer

Does the hon. Gentleman want rail fares on the Ilkley-to-Bradford service and the Ilkley-to-Leeds service to be increased and the massive subsidy to be removed? Does he believe that the maximum fares that the market will bear should be imposed on those services?

Mr. Waller

Public support for those services will be needed for the foreseeable future. However, West Yorkshire has held fares for periods of two or three years at a particular level, for no other reason than pure dogmatism, and it did not lead either to greater reliability or to greater security of service. If the PTA had paid more attention to the public support that exists for those services, it would have set fares at an economic level. I accept that in some cases fares would have been higher, but in the long term those services would have been secured for the public.

I urge my hon. Friend the Minister not to provide more money for West Yorkshire but to stand firm and say that if the West Yorkshire PTA is prepared to run its services in a way that is appropriate for the people of West Yorkshire, by providing them with services at fares that they are prepared to pay, that will ensure the best security. If Michael Simmons and his colleagues are prepared to run the services on businesslike lines, there is a very great future for the rail, bus and trolley bus services in West Yorkshire. Without such a policy, the outlook is bleak.

11.12 pm
Mr. Tony Lloyd (Stretford)

I am intrigued by the reference of the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) to the Conservative party's brave new world of increased fares. He does not understand how fares are applied in west Yorkshire or in any of the metropolitan passenger transport authority areas.

If the operators were to increase fares, there would be no financial benefit for the PTA; the money would remain with the operators. If the PTA should decide to increase fares, that money would go straight into the operators' pockets. The hon. Gentleman's contribution was based on complete ignorance of the new system of financing passenger transport in his area and on his strong determination to push up fares for the public in Keighley and throughout the whole of west Yorkshire.

I invite the Minister to comment on the hon. Gentleman's peroration. Does he accept that fare increases would be a legitimate way to fund the PTAs? I am sure the Minister agrees with me that that is not a practical option. I hope that he will also say whether he endorses the hon. Gentleman's view that fares should be increased in the west Yorkshire area, and in Keighley in particular.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is typical of the Tories to come here in their dinner suits and frilly shirts, having been wining and dining, no doubt at someone else's expense, and argue for increased fares for ordinary people?

Mr. Lloyd

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. I honestly thought that the hon. Member for Keighley was one of the new breed of minibus drivers, wearing the new uniform for the new high-fares, high-society bus service on offer in the Keighley area.[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Porter) made one of his more profound interventions. He probably does not realise that we are not yet discussing Merseyside.

Mr. Barry Porter (Wirral, South)

We will be.

Mr. Lloyd

We will be; and I look forward to hearing the hon. Gentleman's contribution then. If he could defer his remarks for the time being, we shall be discussing Merseyside seriously later.

This is a serious debate about the real financing problems of the authorities. West Yorkshire has been covered by my hon. Friends the Members for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon), for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) and for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer). Let me put it on record from the Front Bench that we feel that West Yorkshire has been cheated. It would be wrong to say that West Yorkshire has been picked out specially because the three authorities are all suffering in the same way.However, West Yorkshire has specific problems and there are specific reasons for complaining about the financial settlement, given the very small amount of public money going to West Yorkshire.

That is a matter of some regret. The settlement will have an impact on the services that my hon. Friends have mentioned and on fares—especially concessionary fares. We should bear in mind that the Secretary of State promised that concessionary fares would be safe under the new round of financing of the PTAs. That has simply not happened. Services to the disabled, too, will either have to be truncated or will not go ahead to the degree to which they should.

As my hon. Friends have covered West Yorkshire, I shall put on record a few facts about Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester finds itself strapped. It is no good the Minister saying that things can carry on as they have over the past year in Greater Manchester, or indeed in West Yorkshire, because they cannot. There is simply not scope for that, given that about £10 million has been lost from a budget of £90 million. The subsidy that can be provided to the rail services will be affected, as will concessionary fares and fares for special services, especially those for the disabled. Whether in West Yorkshire or in Greater Manchester, those who will bear the brunt of this disinvestment in public services will be the elderly, those who have to rely on public transport, young people, schoolchildren and the disabled.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) referred to the Government's long-term plans. It is a matter of considerable concern to Opposition Members that the Government are basically hostile to public transport. The Minister for Public Transport himself is on record as having complained bitterly about the competition provided by Greater Manchester Buses— the local authority-owned transport operative. Effectively, the Minister has said that he does not like competition when it comes from the public sector.

Competition is fine when it is from Yelloways, which cannot provide an adequate service; but it is not fine when it comes from the public sector.

As with the Health Service and education, at least part of the underfunding is a attempt to belittle the public services provided for those of our people who rely on them. We believe that the systematic dismantling of those services is being undertaken with a view to making out the case for the breaking up of existing structures.

We are very concerned about the financing of the PTAs in years to come. In particular, we are concerned about the breaking up of the PTAs and the invitation that is apparently to go out to the district authorities and the metropolitan areas to consider opting out. It would help if the Minister gave a firm commitment here and now that the Government do not intend to enforce that, that they do not intend to continue to underfund the PTAs, and that they do not intend that the public transport network should be broken up in West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. Even if he puts that on record, my hon.

Friends and I are unlikely to believe it, because the orders we are considering tonight mean precisely that — the dismantling of good public transport.

11.19 pm
Mr. David Mitchell

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) made great play of the dating of a letter. So that the matter may be clear, may I point out that the letter was sent on 1 February, but I had approved it on 26 January and there was a slight delay in dispatch. If the hon. Gentleman knows the volume of post that goes through a Department, he will appreciate that he is not on to a fair point.

The hon. Gentleman prophesied doom and gloom, as did other hon. Members. Perhaps he will be a little shamefaced when I remind him of the prophecies of doom and gloom that have been made about bus deregulation ever since the Government proposed it and how extraordinarily different from the prophecies the facts have turned out to be, with substantial benefits in many parts of the country.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether we intended to break up the passenger transport authorities by engineering that districts would opt out. Section 42 of the Local Government Act 1985 gives the Secretary of State power to provide for a metropolitan district to secede wholly or partially from its PTA. So far none has wanted to do so. No change is proposed in the legislation. The proposed new arrangements for local government finance will not affect the powers one way or the other. If a metropolitan district wishes to opt out, as some may do, the possibility is already there. It will not arise as a result of the order or of any plans which the Government have up their sleeve.

The hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) drew attention to an assertion by Councillor Simmons that 200 jobs would be lost. I cannot understand the logic of what the hon. Member said, because the PTA would not be in a position itself to lose 200 jobs. If he is referring to a particular bus company operating in the area, I can only say that the staffing levels of different bus companies may change as their fortunes fluctuate. One bus company may contract and another may grow, but I have no reason to believe that there will be a general scaling down in the level of jobs in the bus industry.

Mr. Madden

Councillor Simmons said in his statement that, as the PTA was withdrawing support from services and was being compelled to reduce expenditure, there was a danger that 200 jobs of drivers and maintenance staff were in jeopardy. Does the Minister believe that Councillor Simmons is right or wrong in that assertion? It has to be one or the other.

Mr. Mitchell

He will probably be proved wrong, as he has been proved wrong on a number of occasions in the past. After all, it was prophesied that bus deregulation would produce massive reductions in the bus network. In fact, there has been a 6 per cent. increase in the network in West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. We were told that there would be substantial cuts in essential rural services, that passes for the elderly would be abandoned and that there would be an increasing burden on ratepayers, but none of those prophecies has proved to be true.

Therefore, the hon. Gentleman cannot rely on Opposition spokesmen in the PTA areas in various parts of the country any more than he can rely on the track record of his hon. Friends who served on the Committee on the then Transport Bill in 1985 to give a reasonable account of what might happen. It has not worked out in the way that has been prophesied.

Last year the West Yorkshire PTA cried wolf that the roof would fall in. It has not. Between 1986 and 1987, and from 1987 to 1988, bus miles fell slightly from 61.93 million to 61.8 million—a fractional change.

Even train mileage rose in the same period, from 2.46 million to 2.53 million. There was thus an increase in overall mileage, taking bus and train mileages together, which was certainly against the prophecy that there would be a decline.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Is it not the case, however, that West Yorkshire has been using its reserves to keep up the mileage?

Mr. Mitchell

I shall be happy to deal with reserves, which seem sometimes to be more than we expect. It is possible that that trend will continue.

Mr. Hughes

Not for ever.

Mr. Mitchell

The hon. Gentleman says that that trend will not continue for ever. Perhaps it will not, but one is surprised at it, to the extent that some reserves appear for both PTAs and PTEs.

Mr. Waller

Despite the fact that bus mileage has not increased, and perhaps has slightly reduced, does my hon. Friend accept that, as a result of deregulation, it is certain that bus services conform much more closely with those demanded by the public, compared to those which existed previously?

Mr. Mitchell

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. One of the results of deregulation—

Mr. Cryer

He is not right.

Mr. Mitchell

That my hon. Friend is right is an indication that he is much more in touch with what is going on than the hon. Gentleman, who is jeering at him.

My hon. Friend is right because one of the results of bus deregulation has been that far closer attention has been paid to what the customers want, and the services have been tailored much more closely to what the public want than happened in the days of regulation, when services were run whether or not they were used.

The hon. Member for Bradford, West has argued that spending per head in West Yorkshire is constrained below that of other PTAs. The per capita expenditure in West Yorkshire, at £28.80, is above that of the west midlands, at £24.60, and not far below that of Greater Manchester. Although I understand the point he is making, he should not put too much weight on it.

The hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) regretted that the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments had been rushed. I understand that criticism, but there was no intention to do that. The orders relating to Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire were laid on 29 January for consideration when the Committee sat on 2 or 9 February. The Merseyside order was laid later than that because of a delay by the PTA. In a like manner to the first two, it was laid in time for sittings of the Committee, and we are grateful that the Committee was able to consider it earlier today. It was not the responsibility of Government. I think that the hon. Gentleman, on reflection, would not wish to leave his attack on officials as he originally set it. They have no opportunity of replying.

The hon. Gentleman feared that cuts in services would ensue. We were promised this before by the Opposition, but, as I have said, the size of the overall network increased by an average of 6 per cent.

I think that the hon. Member for Bradford, South was mischief-making when he asked my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) whether he was advocating increased fares on British Rail as a way forward, because the hon. Gentleman is well aware that British Rail succeeded in reducing the amount of subsidy which it requires to operate broadly the same network by 27 per cent. over the three years from 1984 to 1987 and a further 23 per cent. reduction is planned over the next three years.

There is no reason to assume that British Rail can make those reductions in the amount of subsidy it requires only in areas outside where section 20 applies. The hon. Gentleman knows that it is perfectly open to the PTE to negotiate over the value of the section 20s and to expect the same sort of improvements in productivity, efficiency and subsidy reduction to be secured in the PTE areas as has been achieved in other parts of the British Rail network.

The hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) claims that the lower precept will lead to unreliable services. I am sorry that she is not in her place at the moment, but I can say that reliability is a matter not of subsidy but of the efficiency of the operator. She fears that concessionary fares will be cut, but Ministers are satisfied that the PTE will have sufficient funds not to have to cut concessionary fares. These fears were expressed last year, but during the subsequent period West Yorkshire used the discretion which the Government gave to extend, not reduce, the categories to whom concessions apply.

My hon. Friend the Member for Keighley praised some of the aspects of the work of the West Yorkshire PTA and I am not suggesting that everything that Councillor Simmons and his friends do is wrong. That would be very unfair, and I accept that, as my hon. Friend says, there are good things and bad things. But we believe that the level of support provided in this order will be sufficient to provide the level of services that is appropriate in the area.

The hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Lloyd) asked me whether I was advocating fare increases. That is a decision for the PTA and the PTE. They must consider the situation and make responsible decisions.

Mr. Cryer

Can the Minister confirm that the difficulty is that the precept is being cut for West Yorkshire, yet he is expecting it to make a bigger contribution to rail services? I mention particularly his attitude about the Settle-Carlisle railway.

Mr. Mitchell

I do not think that the Settle-Carlisle route is a matter that we should be debating tonight. If there were some contribution to be made by the West Yorkshire PTA or PTE, or by other councils, towards the repair of the Ribblehead viaduct, the sort of sums that would be required from councils collectively as a contribution to the costs would be so marginal to the budgets that we are talking about, that it is ridiculous for the hon. Gentleman to suggest that there is any correlation between them and the level of funding provided by the orders.

The hon. Member for Stretford said that the Government are against public transport. That is absolute nonsense. He knows perfectly well that on British Rail we have authorised large expenditure on modernisation of the rail network. I have myself approved more than £1,000 million in expenditure on capital investment in British Rail. To call that, or what has been done for the bus services, with the benefits of deregulation, the innovation that has been unleashed and the minibuses that are providing services all over the country, an attack on public transport is, as the hon. Gentleman knows, absolute nonsense.

I commend the orders to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 312, Noes 187.

Division No. 173] [11.34 pm
Aitken, Jonathan Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Alexander, Richard Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Allason, Rupert Colvin, Michael
Amos, Alan Conway, Derek
Arbuthnot, James Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) .Cope, John
Ashby, David Cran, James
Aspinwall, Jack Currie, Mrs Edwina
Atkins, Robert Curry, David
Atkinson, David Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Davis, David (Boothferry)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Day, Stephen
Baldry, Tony Devlin, Tim
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Dickens, Geoffrey
Batiste, Spencer Dorrell, Stephen
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bellingham, Henry Dover, Den
Bendall, Vivian Dunn, Bob
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Durant, Tony
Benyon, W. Emery, Sir Peter
Bevan, David Gilroy Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Evennett, David
Blackburn, Dr John G. Fairbairn, Nicholas
Body, Sir Richard Fallon, Michael
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Farr, Sir John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Favell, Tony
Boswell, Tim Fenner, Dame Peggy
Bottomley, Peter Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Fookes, Miss Janet
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Forman, Nigel
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bowis, John Forth, Eric
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Franks, Cecil
Brazier, Julian Freeman, Roger
Bright, Graham French, Douglas
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Fry, Peter
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Gale, Roger
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Garel-Jones, Tristan
Budgen, Nicholas Gill, Christopher
Burns, Simon Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Burt, Alistair Glyn, Dr Alan
Butcher, John Goodhart, Sir Philip
Butler, Chris Goodlad, Alastair
Butterfill, John Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Carrington, Matthew Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Carttiss, Michael Gorst, John
Cash, William Gow, Ian
Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda Gower, Sir Raymond
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Chapman, Sydney Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Chope, Christopher Greenway, John (Rydale)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Gregory, Conal
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E') Meyer, Sir Anthony
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mills, Iain
Grist, Ian Miscampbell, Norman
Ground, Patrick Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Moate, Roger
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Monro, Sir Hector
Hampson, Dr Keith Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hanley, Jeremy Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Hannam, John Morrison, Hon Sir Charles
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Moss, Malcolm
Harris, David Mudd, David
Hawkins, Christopher Neale, Gerrard
Hayes, Jerry Nelson, Anthony
Hayward, Robert Neubert, Michael
Heathcoat-Amory, David Newton, Rt Hon Tony
Heddle, John Nicholls, Patrick
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)
Hill, James Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hind, Kenneth Page, Richard
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Paice, James
Holt, Richard Patnick, Irvine
Hordern, Sir Peter Patten, John (Oxford W)
Howard, Michael Pawsey, James
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Portillo, Michael
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Powell, William (Corby)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Price, Sir David
Hunter, Andrew Raffan, Keith
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Irvine, Michael Rathbone, Tim
Jack, Michael Redwood, John
Jackson. Robert Renton, Tim
Janman, Timothy Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Jessel, Toby Riddick, Graham
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Key, Robert Roe, Mrs Marion
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Rossi, Sir Hugh
Kirkhope, Timothy Rost, Peter
Knapman, Roger Rowe, Andrew
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Ryder, Richard
Knowles, Michael Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Knox, David Sayeed, Jonathan
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Scott, Nicholas
Lang, Ian Shaw, David (Dover)
Latham, Michael Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lawrence, Ivan Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lee, John (Pendle) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Lightbown, David Shersby, Michael
Lilley, Peter Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lord, Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Soames, Hon Nicholas
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Speed, Keith
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Speller, Tony
Maclean, David Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
McLoughlin, Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Squire, Robin
Madel, David Stanbrook, Ivor
Major, Rt Hon John Stanley, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey Steen, Anthony
Mans, Keith Stern, Michael
Maples, John Stevens, Lewis
Marland, Paul Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Maude, Hon Francis Stokes, John
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mellor, David Sumberg, David
Summerson, Hugo Walters, Dennis
Tapsell, Sir Peter Ward, John
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Warren, Kenneth
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Watts, John
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman Wells, Bowen
Temple-Morris, Peter Wheeler, John
Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret Whitney, Ray
Thompson, D. (Calder Valley) Widdecombe, Miss Ann
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Wiggin, Jerry
Thornton, Malcolm Wilshire, David
Thurnham, Peter Winterton, Mrs Ann
Townend, John (Bridlington) Winterton, Nicholas
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath) Wolfson, Mark
Tracey, Richard Wood, Timothy
Trippier, David Woodcock, Mike
Trotter, Neville Yeo, Tim
Twinn, Dr Ian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Waddington, Rt Hon David Younger, Rt Hon George
Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Waldegrave, Hon William Tellers for the Ayes:
Walden, George Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and
Walker, Bill (T'side North) Mr. Alan Howarth.
Waller, Gary
Abbott, Ms Diane Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Allen, Graham Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Alton, David Dewar, Donald
Anderson, Donald Dixon, Don
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dobson, Frank
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Doran, Frank
Ashdown, Paddy Duffy, A. E. P.
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dunnachie, James
Ashton, Joe Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Eadie, Alexander
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Barron, Kevin Fatchett, Derek
Battle, John Faulds, Andrew
Beckett, Margaret Fearn, Ronald
Beggs, Roy Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Beith, A. J. Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Bell, Stuart Fisher, Mark
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Flannery, Martin
Bermingham, Gerald Flynn, Paul
Bidwell, Sydney Foster, Derek
Blair, Tony Fraser, John
Boyes, Roland Fyfe, Mrs Maria
Bradley, Keith Galbraith, Samuel
Bray, Dr Jeremy Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) George, Bruce
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Godman, Dr Norman A.
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Gordon, Ms Mildred
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Graham, Thomas
Buchan, Norman Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Buckley, George Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Caborn, Richard Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Callaghan, Jim Grocott, Bruce
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Harman, Ms Harriet
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Hinchliffe, David
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Holland, Stuart
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Home Robertson, John
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Clay, Bob Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Clelland, David Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Cohen, Harry Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Coleman, Donald Illsley, Eric
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Ingram, Adam
Cook, Robin (Livingston) John, Brynmor
Cousins, Jim Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Cox, Tom Kirkwood, Archy
Crowther, Stan Lamond, James
Cryer, Bob Leadbitter, Ted
Cummings, J. Leighton, Ron
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lewis, Terry
Cunningham, Dr John Litherland, Robert
Dalyell, Tam Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Darling, Alastair Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) McAllion, John
McAvoy, Tom Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Macdonald, Calum Robertson, George
McFall, John Robinson, Geoffrey
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Rogers, Allan
McKelvey, William Rooker, Jeff
McLeish, Henry Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McNamara, Kevin Ross, William (Londonderry E)
McTaggart, Bob Rowlands, Ted
Madden, Max Ruddock, Ms Joan
Mahon, Mrs Alice Salmond, Alex
Marek, Dr John Sedgemore, Brian
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Sheerman, Barry
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Martin, Michael (Springburn) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Martlew, Eric Short, Clare
Maxton, John Skinner, Dennis
Meacher, Michael Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Meale, Alan Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Michael, Alun Snape, Peter
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Steinberg, Gerald
Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute) Stott, Roger
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Strang, Gavin
Moonie, Dr Lewis Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Morgan, Rhodri Turner, Dennis
Morley, Elliott Wall, Pat
Mowlam, Marjorie Wallace, James
Mullin, Chris Walley, Ms Joan
Murphy, Paul Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Nellist, Dave Wareing, Robert N.
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
O'Brien, William Wigley, Dafydd
O'Neill, Martin Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Parry, Robert Wilson, Brian
Patchett, Terry Winnick, David
Pendry, Tom Wise, Mrs Audrey
Pike, Peter Worthington, Anthony
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Primarolo, Ms Dawn
Quin, Ms Joyce Tellers for the Noes:
Redmond, Martin Mr. Frank Haynes and
Reid, John Mrs. Llin Golding.
Richardson, Ms Jo

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved.

Resolved, That the draft Precept Limitation (Prescribed Maximum) (Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority) Order 1988, which was laid before this House on 29th January, be approved.—[Mr. David Mitchell.]