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Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ashley of Stoke, L. [Teller]
Barker, B.
Blackwell, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Caithness, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Craigavon, V.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glenarthur, L.
Greaves, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Jacobs, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lyell, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Newby, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Patten, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Rix, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strange, B.
Swinfen, L. [Teller]
Taverne, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Walmsley, B.
Weatherill, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Acton, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dubs, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Putney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lockwood, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molloy, L.
Nicol, B.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Simon, V.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

9 Nov 2000 : Column 1727

6.15 p.m.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Clause 110 [Bus strategies]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 5:

    Clause 110, page 68, leave out lines 34 to 41 and insert ("develop bus services in their area on behalf of their communities having regard to the economic and social well-being of their area").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have tabled Amendment No. 5 because I find the wording of Clause 110 at best unfortunate and at worst potentially damaging and misleading. Clause 110(1) states:

    "Each local transport authority must prepare a document to be known as the bus strategy ... in order to secure that--

    (a) bus services meet such of the transport requirements of persons within the authority's area as the authority consider should be met by such services,

    (b) bus services meeting such requirements are provided to the standards to which the authority consider that they should be provided".

The Minister will be relieved to hear that I do not have difficulties with paragraph (c).

The first two paragraphs would be appropriate if the whole bus service were to be run under a quality contract system; but that is not what the Government envisage. They envisage that, wherever possible, bus services will run commercially. Where they do not run commercially, the next line of defence to ensure that bus services run where they are provided would be that

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there would be quality partnerships. Only as a last resort does one go into the business of quality contracts.

If one is dealing with a commercial service--a local authority's transport plan must take into account and provide commercial services, and the same would apply as regards quality partnerships--surely the operator of those services must have a very strong say in relation to the service that he is going to provide and what its frequency and quality will be. Equally, passengers--customers, curiously enough--should have a very strong influence over which bus services are provided or required in their locality.

Therefore, my own problems with Clause 110 are plain because Clause 110 makes the authority the arbiter of those matters in all circumstances. That clearly should not be the case. So I find myself in some difficulty.

I accept entirely that when one gets into subsidising bus services, the authority comes into the business and at that point--and certainly in relation to quality partnerships--the business of the authority is to decide the level of the subsidy. It should be left to the person running the service, perhaps in the light of that subsidy, to decide exactly what the quality and frequency will be of the service which he is going to provide and the price at which he will provide it. He will be taking a commercial decision in the light of what he thinks he can generate by way of income in addition to the subsidy that he has already received.

My feeling is that the wording of the clause as drafted is, at best, unfortunate. The purpose of Amendment No. 5 is to remove paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) from the face of the Bill and replace them with,

    "develop bus services in their area on behalf of their communities having regard to the economic and social well-being of their area".

That means that the authorities have to look out instead of in; they have to look to their communities and at what they require. That is a far more positive definition of "purpose" than the present wording of the Bill provides.

The Minister will of course say that my intention is also that of the Government. I do not doubt that that is the case, but anybody sitting quietly and reading the Bill would be forgiven for thinking otherwise. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am slightly surprised at this amendment. First, Clause 110 does not bear the slightly sinister implications suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. It does not define or redefine the local authorities' bus powers in relation to the operators; nor does it introduce additional powers.

The provision deals with the bus strategy dimension of the local transport plans. It is surely the local authorities which should decide what should and should not be contained in that strategy. Of course, they are required to consult and take into account the views of the customers, operators, businesses and others who are concerned with the provision of transport. But at the end of the day it is what the local

9 Nov 2000 : Column 1729

authority considers right that is important. Therefore I do not see it being logical to delete that requirement in the way that Amendment No. 5 seeks to do.

Moreover, the amendment sweeps away the useful provisions in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), which are rather more specific requirements on the local authority in its bus strategy than the broad-ranging,

    "social and economic well-being of their area".

As with an earlier amendment, other government legislation requires that to be taken account of in any case. So Amendment No. 5 will neither improve the Bill nor be a logical expression of what we want local authorities to do. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will not press the amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. It illustrates a difference of approach rather than a difference of intention and purpose. That does not surprise me, but I find it disappointing, and I find the wording of the Bill unsatisfactory. None the less, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 139 [Information about bus services]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 6:

    Clause 139, page 86, line 13, after ("area,") insert--

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