Clause 9

Part of – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 24th April 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 9:30 am, 24th April 2008

The amendments mirror in their intent, and go slightly further than, my amendments Nos. 38 and 39, which were not selected. They also mirror the arguments we had on Tuesday afternoon regarding amendment No. 36. They specify rail infrastructure managers who, under the definition we discussed on Tuesday, include operators. There is some merit in putting them in the Bill because the rail network, as I have previously explained, transcends local authority borders and is managed or operated in most cases by local transport authorities, but at the beginning and the end of train journeys users will be reliant on transport  services which are put in place by the local authority. Therefore, as we discussed previously, there is some merit in giving such local transport authorities a responsibility to consult.

The amendments go further than amendment No. 36, and there is wide, all-encompassing phraseology in the Bill regarding such persons as the local authorities consider fit. That would seem to cover operators of bus services, operators of rail services and organisations representing local users of transport. It would be highly unusual if it did not. However, as I said on Tuesday and on previous occasions, unless we have real reassurance, I am, in principle, in favour of a concept that details the responsibilities that are specific to local authorities and those that transcend what local authorities might do. I am particular about having those responsibilities set out in the Bill.

Although the Minister gave great reassurance regarding the last amendment, on Tuesday I was not minded to accept her reassurance regarding amendment No. 36. As those two amendments almost mirror in intent amendment No. 136, unless the Minister is able to give us more reassurance than she did on Tuesday, I am minded to support amendments Nos. 142 and 143, if the Liberal Democrat spokesman wants to test the will of the Committee.