asked the Minister of Transport what estimate he has made of the additional burden in local rates which will be carried by residents in local authorities covered by passenger transport authorities in the year 1970 in consequence of the provisions of the Transport Bill relating to public transport reorganisation.
Any cost to the rates of public transport in these areas will depend on the policies of the passenger transport authorities concerned. We cannot estimate something that will depend on local decisions.
Is the Minister aware that Government policy in several fields is having the effect of shifting the burden of taxation from central Government to local authorities and that it is important for the local authorities to know what this burden is? Will he get out an estimate in this case as soon as he can?
No. I cannot agree with that. The Transport Bill, as I think the hon. and gallant Member will be aware, provides several new forms of financial assistance for public transport, such as bus replacement grant, capital grant, rural bus subsidy, and so on. These will be available, of course, to the passenger transport authorities. Whether they decide to run services at a loss or not is a matter, as we said, for local decisions. Therefore, we cannot estimate what the results will be.