Clause 70

Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 7:31 pm on 6 May 2008.

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Power to require display of certain information

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

I shall be very brief. The clause gives a very wide power. It uses the words

“in such place or places and in such manner as may be prescribed”.

Clearly, the clause gives power to determine both the method of publicity and what information is published, but just as importantly, the language that the information is published in. I am well aware and expect as a sop to the Welsh that, in Wales, we would need to have any leaflet or document published in English and Welsh. However, the one area that the present Prime Minister is right is in his campaign for Britishness and I hope that, in respect of any information published in England—

Photo of Siân James Siân James Labour, Swansea East

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

I suppose that I asked for this.

Photo of Siân James Siân James Labour, Swansea East

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. It is worth noting that, despite the need to produce all material bilingually, we are still loyal citizens of the British isles. I feel that it would be very generous of Conservative Members to recognise the great gift that the Welsh language is to this nation and to Great Britain as a whole.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee

I never doubted the hon. Lady’s loyalty for one moment. If my remarks gave that impression, that was not intentional. However, the Prime Minister has made a good point about promoting Britishness, and I hope that this burden—it will be a burden—will not be too onerous and that it will suffice in England for any document published to be published in English only.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport)

To clarify the situation, one of the issues that came up over and over again in consultation was that passengers felt that they did not know who they should complain to when a service was bad, and the idea behind the clause is to ensure consistency in the information that is available. With regard to the England versus Wales match, we are trying to ensure that passengers using services that cross between England and Wales have access to the correct information.

The power is worded such that operators would be required to display information relevant to passengers in whichever jurisdiction. So buses used on cross-border services would need to display information about the procedures in both England and Wales. I recognise that that might mean a little duplication for operators, but it will mean that passengers have access at all times to the information that they need. It would be for Welsh Ministers to make any regulations in Wales under clause 70.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 70 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses71 and 72 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Watts.]

Adjourned accordingly at nineteen minutes to Eight o’clock till Thursday 8 May at Nine o’clock.