§ Mr. Brandon-Bravo
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress of deregulation in the bus industry.
§ Mr. Moore
Deregulation has got off to a very good start. Service levels have been largely maintained, but there have been substantial savings in local authority subsidy, thanks to the introduction of competitive tendering. New forms of service have been introduced, including minibuses (by the end of the year the National Bus Company expects to be running 3,000 minibuses) and taxi buses (over 50 such services have been registered). Progress has been made with the privatisation of the National Bus Company as a series of separate subsidiaries, to promote competition; four subsidiaries have been sold already, three to a management buy-out. I am confident that deregulation will mean a better deal for those who depend on local bus services for transport, after many years of decline.