HC Deb 23 June 1965 vol 714 cc221-2W
Mr. Popplewell

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement about the financial problems revealed in the London Transport Board's annual report for 1964.

Mr. Tom Fraser

The Board have reported that they are finding it increasingly difficult to meet both the duties imposed on them by Parliament; to provide an adequate service and to pay their way taking one year with another. In particular they consider that the maximum revenue that could now be derived from fares increases, taking into account the loss of passenger traffic which would result, could not be sufficient to enable the Board to attain a fully satisfactory financial position. In these circumstances the Government have concluded that a thorough examination of the conditions under which the Board operate is necessary, including the possibility of even more extensive traffic management measures and also other measures of restraint of traffic. The Government are anxious that whilst this examination is being carried out the attractiveness of the Board's services should not be lessened and have accordingly asked the Board to agree to postpone action for fares increases. The Government appreciate that in the meantime the Board's finances will deteriorate. (The Board estimate that the fares increases they had in mind would have brought in £3.85 million by the end of this calender year.) The Government have therefore given an assurance that they will find means of ensuring that the Board does not have to bear the loss in revenue caused by this postponement. In the light of this assurance the Board have agreed to postpone the fares increases they had planned for this year. The Government propose to review the matter again with the Board with a view to the taking of fresh decisions to be effective not later than the beginning of 1966.