HC Deb 09 April 1986 vol 95 cc115-6W
Mr. Colin Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received the National Bus Company's disposal programme; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

At the request of the National Bus Company, I have today given them directions under section 48(5) of the Transport Act 1985 as to the manner in which the company is to carry out its main objective of promoting fair and sustained competition in the preparation of its disposal programme. A copy of the directions has been laid before each House.

These directions require NBC to provide for each of its local bus operating subsidiaries to be sold individually or as part of a group of companies which contains no other bus operating subsidiary. As many of these sales as possible, particularly of subsidiaries for which NBC staff have indicated that they wish to mount an early buy-out, should be completed by 26 October 1986, the date of deregulation of the bus industry.

average flows for December 1985. In both cases the totals shown are the latest available. Figures marked with an asterisk are estimates.

The table has been compiled from information provided by continuous counting equipment installed in the road. The equipment is operational on 15 of the 30 sections of the motorway. A further eight installations will come into operation by the end of the year. In addition, the manual count undertaken in June 1985 on all open sections of the motorway is to be repeated this June. The Department also has access to the detailed information on traffic using the Dartford Tunnel.

Since the new chairman of NBC, Mr. Rodney Lund, took up his position on 7 April, I have decided to extend from 6 April to 16 May the date by which the Company must submit to me its disposal programme. This will enable him to consider the proposals before they are finalised.

However, this revised timetable will not delay the privatisation programme. I am glad that many local managements and employees are already preparing bids for their subsidiaries and NBC has recently advertised all its subsidiaries in the press inviting expressions of interest from other parties.