§ 13. Mr. Russell Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to promote increased spending on rural public transport. 
§ Mr. Macdonald
The Government are providing new resources to support rural public transport over the next three years. £13.5 million will be available through the Rural Transport Fund. As part of this initiative, I am pleased to be able to announce today that I am awarding grants totalling over £500,000 to 22 rural community transport projects. Many different areas of Scotland will benefit, ranging from Wigtownshire in the south to Orkney and Shetland in the north. In addition, local authorities will be able to bid to the Public Transport Fund for rural transport projects. That Fund will provide £90m over three years. From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
§ Mr. Macdonald
£13.5 million is being invested over a 3 year period through the rural transport funding package announced last year. Taking the allocations the Government have made from this fund in 1998–99 as a yardstick, totals of £10.5 million would be available to local authorities to provide additional public transport services, £1.8 million for community transport projects and £1.2 million to assist rural petrol stations. I know that this initiative is being warmly welcomed in rural areas, not least because these resources represent additional funding not previously made available. In addition, local authorities will be able to bid to the Public Transport Fund for rural transport projects. The Fund will provide £90m over 3 years. From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.