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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 279YAZA:


After Clause 164, insert the following new clause--

ARRANGEMENTS WITH FRANCHISE OPERATORS

(" .--(1) Without prejudice to their general duty under section 123 of this Act, it shall be the special duty of Transport for London--
(a) to review as soon as may be, and subsequently keep under review, the railway passenger services provided by franchise operators for meeting the needs of persons travelling between places in London or between places in London and places outside that area but within fifteen miles from the GLA boundary; and
(b) to enter into such agreements with franchise operators and the Franchising Director as the Mayor may approve for securing that the franchise operators and the Franchising Director provide such railway passenger services as the Mayor decides to be necessary to ensure that such services make a proper contribution towards the provision for London of such a system of transport as is referred to in section 123(1) of this Act.
(2) The franchise operators and Franchising Director shall furnish Transport for London with any information which Transport for London may reasonably require for the purposes of the discharge of its functions under subsection (1) of this section.
(3) Any agreement under this section may include provision for the making of payments by Transport for London to franchise operators in respect of the railway passenger services provided by franchise operators in pursuance of the agreement.
(4) Before entering any agreement under this section, Transport for London shall send a copy of the proposed agreement to the Minister; but a failure to comply with this subsection shall not affect the validity of the agreement.
(5) If any dispute arises between Transport for London, the Franchising Director and the franchise operators in connection with the provision of subsections (1) or (2) of this section, any of them may require the dispute to be referred to the Minister for determination, and any agreement under the said subsection (1) may include provision for any dispute in connection with the agreement to be so referred, and where any dispute is referred to the Minister under or by virtue of this subsection, the Minister may give such directions to Transport for London, the Franchising Director and the franchise operators with respect to the dispute as he thinks fit.
(6) The Minister may, with the approval of the Treasury and in any particular case he considers it proper to do so, make grants to Transport for London towards any expenditure incurred by Transport for London by reason of any agreement entered into under subsection (1)(b) of this section.")

The noble Baroness said: We tabled this amendment in the form of a new clause which gives a specific duty to Transport for London. I am bound to say that I did not grasp every word said by the Ministers in the preceding hour and it may be that everything we are asking for is in some way subsumed in what they have

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already done. I apologise if that is the case, but I am sure they will understand that it is not always easy to grasp the relationship of one provision with another.

The context of this amendment is the enormous importance of rail transport in London and therefore its importance to the authority and to Transport for London--the active part of the delegated body for transport matters. The clause requires Transport for London to keep under review passenger rail services in London and 15 miles around London. It also enables Transport for London to enter into agreements with franchise operators and the franchising director, with the approval of the mayor, for securing railway services.

The agreements that are made to secure such services can involve provision for the making of payments by Transport for London to franchise operators, and the Minister may,


    "with the approval of the Treasury and in any particular case he considers it proper to do so, make grants to Transport for London towards any expenditure incurred". There are some further elements to the amendment. For instance,


    "The franchise operators and Franchising Director shall furnish Transport for London with any information which Transport for London may reasonably require ... If any dispute arises between Transport for London, the Franchising Director and the franchise operators", anyone can refer that dispute to the Minister and it will be so referred.

I believe that the objectives of this amendment are very clear. They are to give TfL a direct influence and power to intervene in the provision of rail services in London and in the area immediately adjacent. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I, too, hope that I will be able to persuade the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, that this amendment is unnecessary because these issues are already provided for in the Bill. Subsection (l)(a) of the amendment places a special duty on TfL to review the operation of franchise passenger rail services in London and, as the noble Baroness said, within 15 miles of the Greater London boundary. That would be in addition to the mayor's general transport duty under Clause 123. However, the mayor's general duty in that clause effectively includes the rail duty envisaged by this subsection. Including this subsection might also call into question the mayor's duty in respect of other transport modes which are not similarly specified.

Subsection (l)(b) places a duty on TfL to enter into agreements approved by the mayor with rail franchisees and the franchising director for the provision of rail services which will contribute to the discharge of the mayor's general transport duty. This is unnecessary because other provisions of the Bill effectively place such a duty on the mayor and give TfL powers to enter into such agreements.

Clause 136(3), for example, provides that TfL may enter into agreements with other persons for the provision of public passenger transport services. Clause 136(6) provides that such agreements may include provisions for combined services for the through

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carriage of passengers or goods and for TfL to be able to make payments to the other party. In addition, Clause 137, which deals with co-operation with the franchising director, gives TfL and the franchising director the power to enter into agreements with one another by virtue of subsection (2).

It may be helpful if I mention that TfL's ability to procure additional rail services from franchisees is qualified by Amendment No. 279YA, standing in the name of my noble friend, Lord Whitty, so that TfL must procure those services through the franchising director. There are good reasons for that, but the principle that TfL will have a mechanism to enter into agreements still holds good.

Subsection (2) of the amendment places a duty on the franchising director and franchisees to provide TfL with any information that it may require for the purposes of subsection (1). The franchising director is already under such an obligation by virtue of Clause 137, but there are a number of other ways in which local authorities and TfL can obtain information from the franchising director and franchise operators. If the noble Baroness would like me to, I can write to her in greater detail on that aspect.

Subsection (3) of the amendment provides that TfL can make payments to franchise operators. The Bill already provides for this. Agreements between TfL and the franchising director will rest on the powers in Clauses 136 and 137, which were previously described. Agreements involve the performance of obligations by the parties, the most common of which is the payment of money. In addition, it is clear from Amendment No. 279YA, which deals with contracts requiring passenger licences, that agreements for the financing of passenger services are contemplated. So there is no reason here for an additional specific power to pay being included.

Subsection (4) of the amendment would put TfL under a duty to provide the Minister with a copy of any agreement with the franchisee which TfL proposes to enter into. But he is already able to be informed of such proposals because TfL will enter into such agreements through the franchising director by virtue of Amendment No. 279YA. The Railways Act 1993 provides for the franchising director to provide the Secretary of State with such information.

As the London White Paper made clear regarding the power of the Minister to settle disputes, we envisage a co-operative relationship between TfL and the franchising director which is why we have provided each of them--by virtue of Clause 137--with a duty to co-operate. In addition, Amendment No. 279XA places a duty on the franchising director to consult the mayor over fare and service levels on London rail services. So we do not see a need for a direct statutory role for the Secretary of State. We see the Secretary of State having a minimum involvement.

As my honourable friend the Minister for Transport in London made clear earlier in the passage of the Bill, should there be a difference it is open to the Secretary of State to intervene. I believe that I have answered the points raised. I apologise to the Committee for the

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detail. However, I am absolutely convinced that on reading the detail it will become apparent that further amendments at later stages in the passage of this Bill will not be necessary.

11.45 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee: We surrender!

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 165 agreed to.


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