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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 4th July 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Baroness Jones of Whitchurch Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 7:15 pm, 4th July 2016

I think the Minister for his response and I thank all noble Lords who contributed. For a little while there, we had a sense of what is possible in the Bill. If we were not careful, we were going to get bogged down in the technical detail of franchising but, as my noble friend Lord Judd said, it is about building community and using the real advantages that you get with a Bill like this that comes along only once every 20 or 30 years. This is a chance to build in that ambition and to have some excitement about the possibility that bus services can provide in terms of community assets. We have had a glimmer today of some of those opportunities.

My noble friend Lord Berkeley showed not only that you can have some innovation and excitement but that you can actually save money by pooling all those services. It seems foolish that social services pay for one set of transport while education pays for another, and no one ever thinks that they could pull that together into one complicated yet coherent grid.

I am pleased that the Minister spoke positively in response. I am slightly sad that he thinks this should go in guidance. I know we debate this over and over again, but guidance does not have the same weight as legislation. From our perspective, the social value Act is worth specifying in the Bill because it brings very specific requirements. I look forward to receiving the letter, when it eventually comes to us, but we need to explore how much more we can enforce this within the Bill rather than leaving it within the guidance. Perhaps that can be part of the wider discussion for us to have outside. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 58A withdrawn.

Amendment 58B not moved.

House resumed. Committee to begin again not before 8.32 pm.