HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc324-5W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the financial allocation by his Department is to support bus services in(a) London and (b) the remainder of the south-east. [31392]

Ms Keeble

Bus services, and transport issues in London in general, are a matter for the Mayor and Transport for London. However, I hope that the following will be helpful.

The Government allocate a block transport grant which the Mayor is free to spend in accordance with the Transport Strategy for London. In the current financial year that grant is some £714 million, and will rise to just over £1 billion next year. The Government have also supported specific projects such as the London Bus Initiative, through its Capital Modernisation Fund. The Mayor has consistently stated that investment in buses is one of his highest priorities.

As far as bus services outside London are concerned, it is for individual local authorities to decide how much of their Revenue Support Grant settlement to allocate to the support of bus services.

However, authorities in the south-east, as elsewhere, benefit from the specific funding schemes we have introduced to support bus services. Authorities in the south-east Government office region have been allocated a total of £9.14 million in Rural Bus Subsidy Grant in the current financial year. This will increase to £10.46 million in 2002–03. In addition, we have recently announced awards for authorities in the south-east totalling £2.7 million as a result of latest round of the Rural Bus Challenge and of £461,000 from first round of the Urban Bus Challenge. We have also awarded £425,000 for an Urban Bus Challenge project in London.

In addition, under support for capital expenditure to implement their local transport plans, authorities in the south-east outside London have been allocated £179 million for local transport projects in 2002–03. Bus services will benefit significantly from many of these projects.

In addition all operators of local bus services, inside and outside London, receive Fuel Duty Rebate from my Department.