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Bus Services: Chorley

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much of the funding allocated to Chorley Borough Council for concessionary bus travel in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 was used on (a) concessionary travel, (b) subsidy to bus routes and (c) other purposes. (254732)

In 2006-07 and 2007-08 funding for the statutory minimum bus concession was provided exclusively through the Formula Grant system, which is administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. local authorities are free to spend it on any services provided (not just transport services) that meet their statutory obligations. This enables local authorities to decide on their own priorities based on local requirements.

It is not possible to identify how much formula grant has been allocated to a local authority for any particular service. This single pot of non-ring fenced funding allows local authorities to decide on their own priorities and provides an incentive for them to maximise value for money.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received a request for a meeting with representatives of Chorley Borough Council to discuss the national concessionary bus fares scheme. (253681)

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: No request has been received from representatives of Chorley borough council. However, departmental officials have recently been to Lancashire county council to discuss the council's issues with funding for concessionary travel,

The Secretary of State will shortly be meeting with a north-west MP (the right hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack)), and I have also met a number of parliamentary colleagues to discuss this issue. I will be happy to meet with any other members who are concerned about funding for concessionary travel in their area.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much grant Chorley Borough Council received for the national concessionary bus travel scheme for 2008-09. (253682)

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: Chorley borough council will receive special grant funding of £280,000 in 2008-09 for the improvement to statutory concessionary travel to England-wide, which was implemented on 1 April last year. This additional grant represents 33 per cent. increase on outturn expenditure by Chorley in 2007-08 on concessionary fares. This is in addition to its existing funding for concessionary travel which is provided through formula grant. It is not possible to identify the precise amount received by each authority for concessionary fares from formula grant.