Concessionary Fares (London)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th February 1984.

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Photo of Mr John Cartwright Mr John Cartwright , Woolwich 12:00 am, 27th February 1984

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to meet the London Boroughs Association to discuss the future of concessionary fares for the elderly and the handicapped.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I am in regular touch with the London Boroughs Association on matters of common interest, including the development of the practical details of the uniform scheme of travel concessions for elderly and disabled people that is to be provided.

Photo of Mr John Cartwright Mr John Cartwright , Woolwich

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the published view of the London Boroughs Association that unless the Government virtually double grant-related expenditure assessments for concessionary travel it will be almost impossible to maintain the quality of the scheme? Given the threat of rate-capping that is hanging over the London boroughs, can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that they will be able to provide a scheme as good as that which is now in operation?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Clearly, the hon. Gentleman has not seen the latest press release from the London Boroughs Association, which states: The LBA has always expressed its support for the principle of a concessionary fares scheme, and the Government's statement underpins this policy. The GLC have no excuse now to continue their scare campaign among the elderly. That answers the hon. Gentleman's question.

Photo of Mr Richard Tracey Mr Richard Tracey , Surbiton

Does my right hon. Friend accept that hon. Members on both sides of the House feel strongly about the plight of old-age pensioners? The line put forward by various Opposition Members, including the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright), could be called a red herring.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that for every week that the London Transport Authority remains in the hands of the GLC, £500,000 of ratepayers' money — they include old people—is being wasted?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

My hon. Friend is right. I hope that we shall now be able to stop wasting ratepayers' money on a scare campaign. If this is the way in which the GLC debates the subject of its own abolition, it is clear that the Government were right to decide to abolish it.