HC Deb 11 December 1984 vol 69 cc406-7W
Mr. Tracey

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made the 1985–86 transport supplementary grant settlement; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

The 1985–86 transport supplementary grant settlement is set out in the "Rate Support Grant Report (England) 1985/86" which is made to the House today.

This transport supplementary grant settlement is the first to be made under the new arrangements which I announced on 16 October in circular 3/84. These were approved by Parliament on 27 November. Only capital expenditure on highways and the regulations of traffic is now eligible for TSG.

I have decided to accept the TSG a total of £320 million. The total amount of grant will be £160 million, to be paid at a rate of 50 per cent. on all accepted expenditure.

In considering the highways capital programmes of the GLC and the county councils in the transport policies and programmes which they submitted to the Department in the summer I have taken into account the extent to which their estimated expenditure on major road schemes related to roads of more than local importance. In particular I considered the extent to which the expenditure would improve the primary route network of important through routes, would improve major urban roads which carry heavy long-distance traffic, or would relieve communities of the effects of heavy through traffic. For this settlement, however, I have also continued to accept expenditure on highways schemes which were named as future commitments in previous years and which have already started, as in paragraph 10 of circular 3/84, even where they do not meet these criteria. The amount of estimated expenditure for each council is shown in annex P to the rate support grant report. Councils are being informed individually today of their own figures.

These accepted capital programmes include 289 major road schemes, 214 already in progress or due to start in 1984–85 and a further 75 due to start in 1985–86. Of these schemes 169 are bypasses or relief roads and a further 76 are other improvements to the primary route network.

The amount of expenditure accepted for TSG is not intended to cover the whole of each council's capital highways programme. With the resources available to them, councils should be able to carry out additional works to improve their roads.

We shall pay 50 per cent. specific grants in support of expenditure for investment in public transport facilities on 11 projects which were previously supported through TSG.

Because TSG forms part of aggregate Exchequer grant, the new TSG arrangements mean an increase in block grant. How the extra block grant is allocated between authorities depends on their GREs, targets and the block grant mechanisms. The associations were consulted about the new transport GREs introduced as a consequence of the TSG changes.