Local authorities in Essex have appealed against an increase in the Eastern National bus company's fares, recently authorised by the Traffic Commissioners. My right hon. Friend will appoint an independent inspector to hold an inquiry and will decide the appeal in the light of his report. In the meantime I can make no comment on the merits of the case.
No, Sir. The hon. Member probably knows that these matters must go before the Traffic Commissioners. It has long been the law that there is no delay. Once the Traffic Commissioners have arrived at a judgment, the increase can be implemented immediately, but that is without prejudice to my right hon. Friend's decision on the appeal. I make no comment whatever on the merits, because my right hon. Friend has decided that there should be an independent inquiry and he will decide the matter on the basis of the inspector's report.