HL Deb 29 September 2000 vol 616 cc198-9WA
Lord Morris of Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (a) whether the express exclusion, in Clause 113(6)(b) of the Transport Bill, of the prescription of the frequency and timing of services within a quality partnership agreement, will inhibit the making of voluntary agreements on these matters by operators and local transport authorities;
  2. WA199
  3. (b) what discussions have taken place on this subject with the Office of Fair Trading; and
  4. (c) what guidance has been or will be published (and, if so, when) so as to facilitate the entering into of such agreements. [HL3832]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston

We see no reason why the provisions in Clause 113, which relate only to statutory schemes under the Bill, should inhibit voluntary agreements between local authorities and bus operators. My department has regular discussions with the Office of Fair Trading on competition issues affecting the bus industry, in particular stressing the importance attached by the industry to receiving appropriate guidance from OFT. For its part, the department is currently preparing good practice guidance on quality partnership arrangements, based on current experience around the country; we hope to issue that later this year.