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New Clause 46

Expenses of the PPP arbiter


'.--(1) The following expenses, namely--


(a) any sums payable by virtue of section (Terms of appointment etc of the PPP arbiter)(2) or (3) above, and
(b) any expenses duly incurred by the PPP arbiter or by any staff of the PPP arbiter,
shall be defrayed by the Secretary of State.
(2) A relevant body which is a party to a PPP agreement shall pay to the Secretary of State, at such times as he may direct, such sums as the Secretary of State may determine in respect of expenses defrayed by the Secretary of State under subsection (1) above.
(3) A PPP agreement may provide that sums paid by a relevant body by virtue of subsection (2) above, or any portion of such sums as may be specified or described in the PPP agreement, may be recovered by the relevant body from a PPP company which is a party to the PPP agreement.
(4) Where a PPP agreement includes provision by virtue of subsection (3) above making any sum recoverable by a relevant body, the directions which may be given under section (Directions of the PPP arbiter)(3) above include directions varying the amount so recoverable.
(5) Sums received by the Secretary of State by virtue of this section shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.'.--[Mr. Dowd.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 187

Travel concessions on journeys in and around Greater London


Amendment made: No. 88, in page 100, leave out lines 6 to 8 and insert--
'(b) which by virtue of section (Continuity: repealed or revoked functions of LRT) above has effect as if made by Transport for London.'.--[Mr. Dowd.]

5 May 1999 : Column 1000

Schedule 9

Operating powers of Transport for London


Amendments made: No. 89, in page 192, line 32, leave out
'before it ceases to exist,'.
No. 90, in page 197, line 37, leave out
'before it ceases to exist,'.
No. 91, in page 198, line 23, leave out from 'contract' to 'notwithstanding' in line 24 and insert
'which by virtue of section (Continuity: repealed or revoked functions of LRT) of this Act has effect as if made by Transport for London,'.--[Mr. Dowd.]

Schedule 13

Penalty fares


Amendment made: No. 92, in page 214, leave out lines 20 to 22 and insert--
'(b) which by virtue of section (Continuity: repealed or revoked functions of LRT) of this Act has effect as if made by Transport for London.'.--[Mr. Dowd.]

Clause 222

Road user charging

Mr. Ottaway: I beg to move amendment No. 80, in page 121, line 36, leave out clause 222.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment No. 25, in page 121, line 36, after '(1)', insert


'Where the revenue raised is to be invested solely and exclusively in better provision for public transport, cycling and walking in Greater London'. Amendment No. 81, in page 121, line 41, leave out 'keeping or'. Amendment No. 83, in schedule 18, page 230, line 36, leave out Schedule 18. Amendment No. 82, in page 230, line 45, leave out 'keeping or'. Government amendments Nos. 140 and 141. Amendment No. 8, in page 235, line 12, leave out from 'scheme' to third 'the' in line 13. Amendment No. 9, in page 235, line 14, leave out
'during the scheme's initial period'. Amendment No. 10, in page 235, line 19, leave out from '(2)' to 'the'. Amendment No. 11, in page 235, leave out lines 24 to 27. Amendment No. 12, in page 235, leave out lines 32 to 40. Amendment No. 13, in page 236, line 36, leave out from beginning to end of line 2 on page 237. Amendment No. 14, in page 237, leave out lines 24 to 38. Government amendment No. 142. Amendment No. 26, in clause 223, page 122, line 3, after '(1)', insert
'Where the revenue raised is to be invested solely and exclusively in better provision for public transport, cycling and walking in Greater London'. Government amendment No. 143.

5 May 1999 : Column 1001

Amendment No. 15, in schedule 19, page 247, line 6, leave out from 'scheme' to third 'the' in line 7. Amendment No. 16, in page 247, line 8, leave out
'during the scheme's initial period'. Amendment No. 17, in page 247, line 13, leave out from '(2)' to 'the'. Amendment No. 18, in page 247, leave out lines 18 to 21. Amendment No. 19, in page 247, leave out lines 26 to 34. Amendment No. 20, in page 248, leave out lines 28 to 44. Amendment No. 21, in page 249, leave out lines 16 to 30. Government amendment No. 144. New clause 6--Traffic disruption charge--
'(1) Where the money is to be invested solely and exclusively in better provision for public transport, cycling and walking in Greater London, each of the following bodies, namely,
(a) the Authority,
(b) any London borough council, or
(c) the Common Council,
may establish and operate schemes for imposing charges in respect of any disruption caused by works to roads, pavements or cycle lanes in their area.'. Government amendment No. 145.

6.45 pm

Mr. Ottaway: This debate is on road pricing. It would be sensible to get some myths out of the way before the debate begins. We concede that a transport Green Paper in the early 1990s, towards the end of the previous Government's time in office, said that there was a presumption that road pricing would be introduced. A Green Paper is a consultation document, not a statement of policy. That would not therefore have been a national policy as defined in the Bill.

Secondly, a presumption in a Green Paper can be rebutted, and the Government should be under no illusion but that that idea was rebutted. The proposal was not taken forward. The proposal to introduce road pricing did not appear in the Conservative party manifesto in 1997. It never formed a part of our policy.

We share the concern of all political parties about the problem of congestion. There is widespread concern about pollution caused by cars and other motor vehicles. The challenge to Governments of either persuasion is how to manage the car. In our view, clobbering the motorist is not the solution, and we reject outright the Government's anti-car rhetoric. Furthermore, making London the pilot scheme for congestion tax stands logic on its head. I can think of nowhere less suited and nowhere that would pose greater technical problems.

Amendment No. 81 may be described as the lesser of our two amendments. It would delete the power from clause 222 to impose a charge for keeping a vehicle on the road. That charge is not a road user charge or a congestion tax. It is just another stealth tax. The clause permits the mayor and the London boroughs to impose a further levy for parking or keeping a car within a certain area. It is a further back-door tax that has nothing to do with congestion, and we oppose it.

5 May 1999 : Column 1002

The main issue is the congestion tax, however. Already, 83 per cent. of commuters travel in and out of London by public transport. Public transport in central London is good, although that is, of course, a relative term. It is certainly better than in other cities in Britain and in most cities in the rest of the world. Whether under Labour or the Conservatives, public transport in London has been good. A wide variety of choice is available. By and large, and subject to the usual technical problems, the system gets people around the capital.

As a result, road traffic in central London is not growing. The Automobile Association notes:


The question is whether central London is the right place to impose a congestion tax. People like their cars, the most liberating influence of the post-war years. Cars allow people a freedom to travel that their parents and grandparents never knew. People feel safe in their cars. Mothers use them to take children to school. Nurses use them for their night duty. Pensioners or disabled people use their cars to get to the shops. These are the people who will be hardest hit by the congestion tax.

Let me turn to traffic speed. The AA, once again, states:


Traffic speeds have slowed more generally in London and that is in large part attributable to the Government's anti-car stance. We are all in favour of pedestrian safety and of ensuring that drivers proceed safely, but do we really need each and every one of the extra crossings, traffic-calming measures and lane reductions that are currently being introduced? The widespread view is that the use of such measures has gone too far, and I have no doubt that it is a contributory factor to the reduction in traffic speeds in the capital.

I said on Second Reading and in Standing Committee that we have to hand it to the Government: they slow down the traffic and thereby create congestion, which they then tax--that is a smart move. The truth is that many of the traffic jams are man-made; they could be avoided and traffic could be speeded up through more pro-motorist thinking.


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