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Bus Services

Volume 519: debated on Thursday 2 December 2010

15. What recent assessment he has made of the effects of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review in respect of the bus service operators grant on local bus services and fares. (27897)

We estimate that the 20% reduction in bus service operators grant from 2012-13 would lead to a potential increase in average fares of around 1.5%. However, the bus industry is hopeful that, in general, this reduction could be absorbed without fares having to rise.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has told people to get on the bus to look for work. What does the Minister say to my constituents in Kingswood and Bransholme, which are on the outskirts of Hull, who are looking for work, but are worried that the cuts that are being implemented will lead to a reduction in the less profitable bus services, as well as higher fares for people who are struggling already?

We want to see more people on buses but, as I have indicated, the reduction in BSOG is less than the average reduction in the Department’s revenue budget, which recognises the importance of the bus network. When I spoke to the industry following the spending review announcement, it indicated that the cut was so minimal that it hoped that it could absorb it without fares having to rise, which is what we hope will happen.