HC Deb 23 July 1985 vol 83 cc447-8W
Mr. Mason

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to issue any indication of his policy regarding the size of Government subsidies to passenger transport joint boards and the account he is taking of the implications of the level of Government financial support for fare levels in the light of the enactment of the Local Government Act 1985; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

Policy on subsidies to public transport services in the metropolitan counties, including policy on fare levels, will from 1 April 1986 be the responsibility of the new passenger transport authorities established under the Local Government Act 1985. These authorities will be eligible for Government grants, including rate support grant. I have made clear on many occasions my view that present levels of revenue support to public transport services in the metropolitan areas are excessive, and in May my Department issued advice to the passenger transport executives that they should plan on the assumption that the level of revenue support for 1986–87 will be between five per cent. and 15 per cent. in cash terms below the protected expenditure level set for 1985–86. For their first three financial years the new authorities will be subject to precept control under the Rates Act 1984. Expenditure levels under the provisions of that Act will be determined as soon as the authorities are constituted.