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Baroness Darcy de Knayth: I wonder whether the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, wishes to come back on her amendment before I withdraw mine.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: It is kind of the noble Baroness to give me that opportunity. The best that one can do is to read carefully the Minister's long answer to make sure that it satisfies the points raised. That is what I propose to do.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: I thank all who have spoken and particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, for her points and the noble Lord, Lord Morris, for his comment about subsection (5B) and publicity. I am grateful also for what he told us about the Minister's letter to him, which we will come to later. I am deeply appreciative of that response and cheered by it.

I am reasonably cheered by the Minister's response on subsection (5B). He has he set my mind at rest. I shall be happy to read his comments on subsection (5A). I think I probably am satisfied.

Given the myriad of amendments about disabled people and transport, the wide range of fears and concerns that have been expressed, and the importance of getting it right, would the Minister be willing to meet the noble Lords, Lord Swinfen and Lord Morris, and the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, and our advisers between now and Report, to discuss all those matters?

Lord Whitty: I would be most happy to proceed with such an arrangement.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: I thank the Minister very much. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 286ZA not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 286A:


Page 104, line 21, after (" 233") insert ("or 324").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 193, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 194 agreed to.

Schedule 12 [The free travel scheme]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 286B to 286F:


Page 228, line 21, leave out ("the daytime, evening or late-night") and insert ("an eligible").
Page 228, leave out lines 24 to 26 and insert ("the eligible periods are--
(a) the period from midnight to 4.30 a.m.; and
(b) the period from 9.00 a.m. to midnight.").
Page 228, line 27, leave out ("daytime, evening or late-night period for the purposes of sub-paragraph (3)") and insert ("periods which are eligible periods for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)(b)").

5 Jul 1999 : Column 594


Page 229, line 6, after ("year") insert ("(referred to in this paragraph as the "current financial year")).
Page 229, line 34, at end insert--
("(5) In fixing the charges payable by London authorities under this paragraph Transport for London shall take into account--
(a) the sum applicable by virtue of sub-paragraph (6) below; and
(b) the matters specified in sub-paragraph (7) below.
(6) The sum applicable by virtue of this sub-paragraph is--
(a) where the free travel scheme does not have effect during the current financial year, a sum equivalent to the total of the costs agreed to be reimbursed by local authorities during the current financial year under arrangements made by virtue of section 193(1) of this Act; or
(b) where the free travel scheme has effect during the current financial year, a sum equivalent to the charges payable by London authorities under this paragraph in respect of the current financial year.
(7) The matters specified in this sub-paragraph are--
(a) the coming into operation of a service falling within section 195(3) of this Act, or the variation or discontinuance of such a service,
(b) changes in the fares payable in respect of any such service, and
(c) changes in the methods or information available to Transport for London for calculating the amounts specified in sub-paragraph (4) above,
since costs were last agreed to be reimbursed by local authorities under arrangements made by virtue of section 193(1) of this Act or, if more recent, since charges payable under this paragraph were last fixed.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 12, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 195 and 196 agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 286AA:


After Clause 196, insert the following new clause--

EXERCISE OF FUNCTIONS BY A JOINT COMMITTEE

(" .--(1) If all the London authorities enter into arrangements under section 101(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 for the joint discharge of their functions under--
(a) subsection (1) of section 193 above, or
(b) subsection (2) of that section,
and the arrangements so provide, then this section shall apply.
(2) The arrangements shall have effect for such period as may be specified in the arrangements or until otherwise terminated by the unanimous decision of the London authorities.
(3) The arrangements must provide for the function to be discharged only by a joint committee under section 101(5)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972.
(4) The joint committee must consist of one member of each London authority.
(5) Decisions of the joint committee must be unanimous decisions of those present and voting.
(6) Subsection (5) above is subject to a resolution of the joint committee, passed unanimously by those present and voting, that--
(a) decisions of a kind specified in the resolution, or
(b) decisions generally,
may be made by such majority of those present and voting as may be specified in the resolution.
(7) The majority specified in a resolution under subsection (6) above must be not less than two-thirds of the members of the joint committee.

5 Jul 1999 : Column 595


(8) In consequence of the preceding provisions of this section--
(a) section 102 of the Local Government Act 1972 (appointment of committees) has effect in relation to the joint committee subject to those provisions; and
(b) paragraph 39(1) of Schedule 12 to that Act (questions to be decided by simple majority), as applied to a joint committee by paragraph 44(1) of that Schedule, does not have effect in relation to the joint committee.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes moved Amendment No. 287:


After Clause 196, insert the following new clause--

DISABLED PERSONS' TRANSPORT SERVICES

(" . The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for and in connection with the provision of transport facilities and services provided for the purpose of meeting the needs of disabled persons resident in Greater London.").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment has been widely debated. I now rise to move it formally, as I have had the benefit of reading in Hansard the discussion and Minister's response to it. I shall ask him to comment on what he said the other day.

The Minister said:


    "As was indicated in our White Paper ... responsibility for Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard will transfer to the new authority". He later said:


    "The mayor will also be able to take responsibility for Taxicard or operate a similar scheme". The comments were made during a general debate on a number of mixed amendments. My concern is that they seem to run contrary to the Bill as presently drafted. While I understand that the mayor will be able to seek clarification on the role of the Taxicard within his or her local implementation plans, my concern is that funding for the Taxicard scheme is already being eroded in many boroughs. There seems to be no mechanism for the mayor, or indeed the Secretary of State, to ensure that the funding is not simply salami-sliced in boroughs on an individual basis. If that happens, there will be no Taxicard scheme for which the mayor can take responsibility.

Again I quote the Minister:


    "Both schemes [Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride] are very important and need to be developed for disabled people".--[Official Report, 1/7/99; col. 462.] I simply seek a reassurance that there will be a safeguard for maintaining borough funding for Taxicard during any interim period that may arise if the schemes were to be transferred to TfL. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: The principle is there, and it is reflected within the Bill. If a transitional problem of the sort alluded to by the noble Baroness arises, I am confident that the powers cover that. However, to make doubly sure, perhaps I may undertake to write to the noble Baroness.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I thank the Minister for that reply. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5 Jul 1999 : Column 596

Clause 197 [Penalty fares]:

[Amendment No. 287A had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 197 agreed to.

Schedule 13 [Penalty fares]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 287B:


Page 232, line 20, after (" 233") insert ("or 324").

[Amendments Nos. 287C to 287G had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]


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