Clause 47

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 6 May 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:30, 6 May 2008

I beg to move amendment No. 242, in clause 47, page 41, line 26, leave out subsection (2).

The purpose of this probing amendment is to encourage the Minister to explain to the Committee why a bus operator should be required to pay a fee for cancelling the registration of one of its services, if that fee is beyond that which covers the administration. A fee is already payable when a service is registered under the provisions of the Transport Act 1985. The circumstances in which a fee is payable are extended by this clause so that a fee can also be incurred when a service is continued or cancelled.

I would like to be reassured by the Minister that the only purpose of charging a fee is for recovering administrative costs. If so, could she give us some indication of how she intends to give guidance on how these costs will be calculated and how the traffic commissioners are going to set these fees? Can she reassure us that they are set only at a level that covers administrative costs. I am sure that in the interests of maximum patronage, in certain areas operators must be given flexibility to respond to the demands of the travelling public. If it were a punitive fee, there would be some serious issues about what was being provided. I understand that costs must be covered, but I seek a guarantee from the Minister that the purpose of the clause is to cover administrative costs only. What guidance does she intend to give on how those administrative costs might be assessed?