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Local Transport Budgets

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what formula is used for calculating how much local transport authorities receive for their annual transport budget; and what factors were included in compiling this formula. (81768)

Two formulae influence different parts of local authorities' transport capital allocations from the Department for Transport.

Firstly a formula is used to distribute the vast majority of the funding support provided for capital highways maintenance. The factors currently considered in this formula relate to roads and bridges. For roads, they are the lengths and conditions of an authority's principal, classified non-principal and unclassified roads. For bridges, they are the size of the bridge stock and the numbers of bridges requiring strengthening or major maintenance. A minimum amount for bridges per authority of £100,000 is applied. The combined roads and bridges allocations are adjusted to ensure an authority's total allocation does not vary by more than 25 per cent. from the previous year.

Secondly, a formula is being introduced to influence the distribution of the integrated transport block (which is for improvements to local roads and public transport, each of which generally costs less than £5 million). The factors considered in this formula are related directly or indirectly to the transport shared priorities, as agreed between Government and the Local Government Association in 2002. The priorities and variables are shown in the following table. In addition, the formulaic distribution of funding takes into account previous ministerial commitments, European Union objective one designations and South East growth areas.

Transport shared priority

Formula variable (More = more funding)

Road safety

Road casualty numbers

Accessibility

Degree of deprivation rural population

Congestion and accessibility

Bus and light rail patronage

Congestion

Population (weighted towards large towns)

Air quality

Districts in Air Quality Management Areas

A further formula related to highways maintenance is used within the calculations for the distribution of revenue support grant. This grant supports local authority transport budgets, but it is not allocated by the Government between individual council services.