Clause 11

Part of Concessionary Bus Travel Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 5th June 2007.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Transport 4:30 pm, 5th June 2007

The amendment that I proposed this morning gave the Secretary of State the power to implement that change. Clearly, I would not have expected him to introduce a blanket exception right away; I would have expected him selectively to introduce exceptions or to extend the scheme, so that for rural areas without any other services—no bus service, for example—community transport would qualify under the concessionary fares scheme. That is fair.

I do not believe that the biggest cost would fall on rail if the scheme were extended to everyone, as the Minister said this morning. My immediate reaction would be to look at communities, particularly rural communities—the Isles of Scilly would fall under that definition—consider the alternative forms of transport that are available and ensure that those qualify under the scheme. There could be a gradual roll-out, enabling people who would otherwise not benefit from the national scheme to receive some benefit. That is all we are asking the Minister to consider.