This large group of amendments deals with the reason why an integrated transport authority might be created, why the boundaries of an existing one may be changed, changed, and why review of existing arrangements might be carried out. Currently, such a move must satisfy two criteria: first, it would improve the exercise of statutory functions relating to transport in the area; and, secondly, it would improve its effectiveness and efficiency. There is no dispute about that; they are important criteria and I support them. However, one criterion is missing.
Local authorities have a responsibility to provide transport and other services to local people cost-effectively. Local people will be paying for those local services and the idea behind the amendments is a variation on a theme, perhaps not surprisingly. The amendments provide that when deciding whether to change the structure of local transport governance, due consideration must be given to the ability to provide local transport in a cost-effective manner. My plea is simple. Can the Minister reassure us that the cost implications of provision will be part of the decision-making process of the establishment of the ITA? When creating an integrated transport authority, the burden of cost should be a factor of consideration.