HC Deb 22 March 1999 vol 328 cc43-4W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the future of rural bus services in the North-West of England. [76359]

Ms Glenda Jackson

The Government are committed to increasing transport services in rural areas. The 1998 Budget provided an additional £50 million a year for three years for rural public transport. This was increased to £60 million a year for the next two years in the Budget on 9 March.

As part of this new funding, we have provided £2.635 million to local authorities for the support of new bus services in the North-West in the current year. We have also committed £1.15 million from the Rural Bus challenge competition to support schemes in the North-West aimed at a range of measures to improve the quality and availability of services. We have also approved £322,000 for schemes in the North-West from the Rural Transport Partnership, aimed at building on the success of existing local initiatives and facilitating better coordination of voluntary, local authority and commercial services.

We will be publishing shortly more details of our proposals, which were outlined in the White Paper "A New Deal for Transport" last summer, for measures to ensure that buses can play their full part in an integrated transport policy, in town and country alike.

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