Bus Services Bill [Lords]

Part of Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:01 pm on 1st March 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 6:01 pm, 1st March 2017

I would be very happy to provide clarification. Throughout the development of the policies, we have been looking to protect workers who transfer in that way. We have put that right at the heart of our discussions in policy development, and I am happy to share that information with the hon. Gentleman and any other interested colleague.

Several hon. Members asked about this, so let me confirm once more that the decision about whether a case to proceed with franchising is compelling is entirely for the Mayor. We should perhaps thank Andy Burnham for sharing the news that he is a mayoral candidate—I do not think anybody knew that until today.

Hon. Members have talked about the guidance for consultations. Some guidance for mayoral combined authorities on establishing a case for franchising has been published, but let me be clear that it is still the Mayor who will take the decision. Our guidance merely aims to assist mayoral combined authorities in establishing a well-evidenced case—that is an important point.

Several colleagues asked what such a case might comprise, so let me add a little detail. We have a number of criteria that we would expect authorities that may be able to apply for franchising powers to demonstrate: that the authority has a clear plan to make bus services better for passengers; that the authority covers an area that is sufficiently wide to make franchising work in practice; that the authority has the powers to make franchising a success, which might mean control over parking or planning policy; that the authority has sufficiently strong governance arrangements in place; and that the authority has the resources and funding to deliver franchising successfully. Those are some of the criteria we will consider when looking, case by case, at which authorities will be able to apply for and secure franchising.