Bus Services Bill [HL] - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 4th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Snape Lord Snape Labour 6:00 pm, 4th July 2016

I rise to speak to Amendment 43 in this group, which seems to do something similar to the amendment so ably moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Scott.

Like the noble Baroness, I am not quite as sanguine about a local authority deciding to set up a franchise scheme, appointing someone to look at it, and then having the ability, regardless of what he says, to go ahead. That smacks a bit of the people’s courts in Germany towards the end of the Second World War. Surely we ought to have something more democratic than that on these somewhat controversial matters. The traffic commissioners, who are widely regarded throughout the transport industry—although under successive Governments, they have been sadly underresourced—ought to be the people who appoint a proper independent arbiter to look at any such proposal. It seems to me to offend natural justice for a local authority wishing to have a franchise scheme to appoint a referee to decide on the merits of that scheme, and regardless of his or her conclusion, to go ahead anyway. I hope that the Minister will look carefully at these amendments and think about toughening up the Bill considerably.