Out of a population of over 4 million in Yorkshire, I have received around 30 representations on the main bus policy and about 20 representations specifically on our proposals for taxis. These include representations from North Yorkshire county council and the two metropolitan county councils.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he give an assurance that the bus policy poses no threat whatever to safety and that, on the contrary, safety standards will be better? Will he also give an assurance that the policy does not pose a threat to concessionary bus fares?
The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. He referred to greater urban congestion and implied that more people would be travelling by bus and probably fewer by car. That should not affect congestion, but will give satisfaction to far more people who will have a bus service which they did not have under the monopoly.
As many organisations in Yorkshire have given the impression that concessionary fares for the disabled and elderly are under threat, will my hon. Friend emphasise that he and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State are particularly concerned that an authority's right to give such concessions will remain?
I can give that assurance with alacrity. Indeed, I shall take this opportunity yet again to deny a rumour that is being deliberately spread to frighten elderly people in order to achieve political objectives.