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Southend Transport Ltd

Volume 227: debated on Friday 2 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the ownership of Southend Transport Ltd.

Approval under the Transport Act 1985 has been given to the sale of Southend Transport Ltd, the bus company owned by Southend-on-Sea borough council. The company has been sold by competitive tender to Branksome 169 Ltd. A company formed by the four main shareholders of British Bus plc.Change of ownership takes place under the terms of the Transport Act 1985, which allows authorities to sell their public transport companies with the consent of the Secretary of State.I believe that this sale will help continue the successful and efficient operation of bus services in Southend-on-Sea. I am also pleased that the sale was successfully conducted by competitive tender, thus ensuring a good price for the local taxpayers of Southend-on-Sea. I wish everyone in the company all success in the private sector.

This sale also sets a good example for other local authorities which own their bus companies. Proceeds from sales of bus companies realized before the end of 1993 will all be usable for local capital projects. Thereafter, 50 per cent. will have to be set aside for debt reduction in the traditional way. Although time is now short, I hope that the remaining local authorities in this position will make the most of this opportunity and sell their bus companies.