HC Deb 13 November 1974 vol 881 cc132-3W
Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will seek powers to enable him to make funds available to permit the continued operation of rural bus services now threatened with closure;

(2) whether, when he is assessing the new rate support grant, he will fix a level which will permit local authorities to assist with regard to the operation of rural bus services which are now threatened with withdrawal or curtailment as a result of increased costs.

Mr. Mulley

Up to 1st April 1975 Section 34 of the Transport Act 1968 enables the Government to pay half of the local authority's expenditure in support of rural bus services. Such expenditure is already relevant for RSG purposes and from 1st April 1975 will rank as eligible expenditure within the new system of grants payable to county councils towards their transport expenditure generally. I shall take account of proposals for expenditure on rural bus services in deciding on the allocation of transport supplementary grants for 1975–76.