Clause 73

Part of Local Transport Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:00 am on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 9:00 am, 8th May 2008

In this part of the Bill, we shall be considering integrated transport authorities, their new powers, how they might come into being, several ways in which their powers may be exercised and restraints on those powers. We shall be looking to probe the Minister in a number of areas for clarification of exactly how the system will work. Amendment No. 273 is grouped with four amendments tabled by the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley that are not dissimilar to mine. They would result in a position whereby a new integrated transport authority can be established only with the consent of the local authorities that make up the new integrated transport authority, and that consent could be judged in two ways.

First, the elected members of each local authority could agree a resolution. That would make perfect sense to the elected officials who will serve on the new ITA. It would be wrong if the Secretary of State decided that several local authorities would benefit from being amalgamated into an integrated transport authority, but the elected people—those sitting on the bodies—disagreed. Each and every local authority should agree an affirmative resolution before they are made part of an integrated transport authority.

If I understand the hon. Gentleman’s amendments correctly, amendment No. 10 states that an ITA would not be created if all the constituent councils pass a resolution opposing it. It is slightly different from my amendment, but it is motivated by the same concerns. Under amendment No. 12, an ITA cannot be created even if a majority of councils oppose it, which again is similarly motivated. The second way in which each local area must approve the creation of an integrated transport authority is through a referendum, which is echoed by amendment No. 13. The proposal is motivated by the simple factor that local people are hugely concerned with local transport in their areas and they should, or could, be given a direct say in how their local transport is managed. I look forward to the Minister’s agreeing to establish democratic consent for an integrated transport authority.