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Bus Services: Concessions

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what meetings she or her Ministers have had with Members of the Welsh Assembly Government on cross-border concessionary bus travel since January 2007; (200060)

(2) if she will place in the Library copies of (a) letters and (b) emails between Ministers in her Department and the Welsh Assembly Government on cross border concessionary bus travel since January 2007.

[holding answer 21 April 2008]: I have not held meetings with Members of the National Assembly for Wales about cross-border concessionary travel between England and Wales, nor has the Secretary of State. The Government’s priority has been the implementation of the new England-wide bus concession which came into effect on 1 April. Concessionary travel is a devolved policy area so the schemes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ from the arrangements in England.

Regarding correspondence about cross-border concessionary travel between England and Wales, in August 2007 I wrote to the Deputy First Minister (Minister for the Environment and Transport) of the Welsh Assembly Government about plans for the commencement of the Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007.

Officials in the Department for Transport corresponded with their counterparts in Wales during the development of the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill, which received Royal Assent in July 2007, and at this time held discussions with the Welsh Assembly Government about reciprocal arrangements for concessionary travel. There are considerable financial implications which would need to be resolved before mutual recognition could be pursued, although local authorities may continue with any current cross-border arrangements.