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Public Transport: Concessions

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of total central Government support for the English concessionary fares scheme (a) was distributed for 2004-05 and (b) is forecast to be distributed to (i) the Scottish Executive, (ii) Transport for London, (iii) the Welsh Assembly, (iv) the Council of the Isles of Scilly and (v) local authorities where there are no bus services in each of the next five years. (129354)

In 2004-05, as now, the funding for statutory concessionary fares in England was one of the services supported through formula grant, which comprises Revenue support grant, redistributed business rates and principal formula police grant. Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. authorities are free to spend the money on any service. Because of the method of calculation, particularly floor damping (which guarantees local authorities at least a minimum percentage increase by scaling back increases for other authorities), it is not possible to say what has been given to each local authority for any particular service.

Up to an extra £250 million per year will be provided for the national bus concession from April 2008 (this includes Barnett consequentials which will be paid on this in line with statement of funding policy). Eligible residents of the Isles of Scilly will be entitled to national bus concession, and so the Isles of Scilly will be receiving a share of the extra funding.

The Department, in discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG’s) and HM Treasury, is looking at a number of options for distributing the existing and future funding. The options will be discussed through DCLG's Settlement Working Group and, if appropriate, formally consulted upon during the summer.