HC Deb 11 March 1991 vol 187 cc662-3
18. Mr. Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislation for a national scheme of concessionary fares in outlying rural areas; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin

I see no need to change the present arrangements, under which local authorities decide what concessionary travel schemes to operate in their areas in the light of local needs.

Mr. Taylor

The Minister will be aware that when pensioners and others look at the differences between local authorities they are often upset to find that concessionary fares are available in one area but not in another, and they ask why that should be so. Often, the reason dates back many years to the time when schemes were originally implemented. The answer that local authorities give now is that, with the poll tax system, they simply cannot afford to introduce a scheme as they would be financially penalised for doing so. That is difficult to explain. Will the Minister make representations to his colleagues in the Department of the Environment with a view to finding a way round the problem?

Mr. McLoughlin

It may indeed be difficult to explain. It seems that the hon. Gentleman is asking the Government to explain something that local authorities should explain to their own constituents.

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