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Ms Glenda Jackson: The Government amendments in this group change in various ways the financial

4 May 1999 : Column 771

arrangements for the GLA in part III of the Bill. I trust that it will be in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for me to outline briefly our proposals with regard to concessionary fares within London. That is an issue of particular importance to the elderly and the disabled.

Mr. Simon Hughes: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I think that the Minister is speaking to the previous group of amendments. Amendment No. 27 is about the amount of the grant. If she is not, I apologise, but her remarks do not appear to relate to the one and only amendment that has been selected.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order for the Chair. No doubt the Minister will have heard what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Ms Jackson: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am aware that the previous group of amendments was not spoken to, and I am aware of the group to which we are speaking. It seems appropriate in the circumstances briefly to detail our proposals with regard to concessionary fares for the elderly and disabled people in London, as we are dealing with finance for Transport for London. I will touch on the amendment that has been tabled by the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) later.

The present legislative arrangements for travel concessions are provided by the London boroughs, and have been in place for almost 15 years. Clearly, the Bill must make provision for those travel concessions to continue. We have given careful consideration to a number of proposals for improving the scheme. As a result, we will table amendments in the other place that will update the scheme, thus helping to maintain its stability.

For the statutory reserve scheme, the start and finish times will be brought into line with those currently in the voluntary scheme. Arrangements for determining the costs of the reserve scheme will be clarified. We are also planning to give the boroughs powers to set up a statutory joint committee dealing with concessionary fares, which will have the option of taking decisions on the basis of qualified majority voting.

Mr. Simon Hughes: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is clearly the speech for the previous group of amendments, which the guillotine prevented us from debating. We are happy--if you will allow it, Mr. Deputy Speaker--to respond to the Minister's remarks. I hope that if the Minister is having the latitude to speak on what is clearly the previous group of amendments, the same latitude will be afforded to others, and we will not just have the Minister trying to justify the Government's difficult-to-justify position without my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) putting his case.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister stated that she craved the indulgence of the House to refer briefly to wider issues. The Minister ought now to concentrate her remarks on amendment No. 27, as she has gone as far as she ought to on other matters.

Ms Jackson: I am grateful for your advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

4 May 1999 : Column 772

Financial arrangements are tailored to the model of London governance for which the Bill provides. There will be a strong executive mayor and an assembly to provide scrutiny. There will be four new functional bodies, dedicated to delivering key Londonwide services. Transport for London and the London development agency will be separate corporate bodies, directly accountable to the mayor, who will set their budgets and strategies and appoint their boards. The Metropolitan police authority and the London fire and emergency planning authority will be authorities in their own right. The mayor will set their budgets and appoint assembly members who will form the majority of members of each authority.

The financial framework in part III provides the mayor with flexibility to allocate resources in line with mayoral priorities. It ensures that the GLA and each of the functional bodies have responsibility for managing their own financial affairs. It makes it easier for Londoners to understand how they contribute, and it fulfils our commitment that the GLA would be subject to the local government finance requirements with modifications needed to reflect its undoubtedly unique role.

The GLA transport grant will draw together money that the Government now pay to all Transport for London's predecessor bodies and to the London boroughs through transport policies and programmes. This will provide the baseline for the first year's budget. After the first year, the Secretary of State will determine the amount of grant after consulting with the mayor. In other words, they will negotiate.

The mayor will make clear what level of resources central Government must provide to deliver the transport strategy and what the effect of inflation will be. The Secretary of State will consider the mayor's proposals against the demands of the rest of the country. That is the right way for the level of transport grant to be determined. Increases must be properly justified.

Amendment No. 27 would be entirely counter- productive. It could deter the Secretary of State from making a one-off additional payment to the mayor; for example, to provide funding for a significant project. If the amendment were accepted, what Secretary of State would be prepared ever to provide additional amounts if the Government had to continue and increase those large sums long after the need for them had passed? It is hardly an incentive to increase resources, and it is most certainly not a recipe for best value. The Government have made available an extra £1.8 billion over the next three years to deliver our integrated transport strategy. We need, and will take, no lessons from others about the importance of proper funding for transport. I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Brake: I am afraid that the Minister failed to respond to our principal concern, that the GLA should be provided with a guaranteed level of funding over the time frame that is required for investment and planning purposes. With the Government's proposals, the uncertainties will remain.

I am not at all satisfied with the Minister's response, so we will press the amendment to a vote.

4 May 1999 : Column 773

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 19, Noes 285.

Division No. 163
[7.40 pm


Allan, Richard
Ballard, Jackie
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Burnett, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Keetch, Paul
Kirkwood, Archy
Llwyd, Elfyn
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Willis, Phil

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Paul Tyler and
Dr. Jenny Tonge.


Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
Organ, Mrs Diana
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sawford, Phil
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. David Jamieson and
Jane Kennedy.

Question accordingly negatived.

4 May 1999 : Column 775

New Clause 7

Limitation of precepts

'Chapter IVA of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (limitation of council tax and precepts), as inserted by Schedule 1 to the Local Government Act 1999, shall not apply to the Greater London Authority.'.--[Mr. Simon Hughes.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

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