|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has had discussions with National Express on bringing them wholly or partially into the national concessionary bus fares scheme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: I have had no discussions with National Express regarding the extension of concessionary travel to their coaches. There are no proposals at present to extend statutory concessionary fares to forms of transport other than local bus services.
Since 2003, there has been a half-fare concessionary travel scheme for older and eligible disabled people on long distance coaches. It is a voluntary scheme but the major providers of long distance coach services, including National Express, take part. The scheme will continue following the introduction of the England-wide free off-peak local bus travel concession in April.
Ms Rosie Winterton: Our assessment of the likely cost impact of the new concession is based on generous assumptions about pass take-up, fares and increased patronage. On this basis we have allocated an additional £212 million to travel concession authorities from 1 April, enough to fund around an extra £200 million bus journeys across England. We are confident that this funding is sufficient to cover the additional cost of the new concession.
The money will be distributed by a special grant, in line with the wishes of local government itself, using a formula to direct funding to areas likely to experience increased costs such as urban and tourist centres and coastal towns. The formula used is based on the most popular option with local authorities, as determined from our recent consultation on the issue.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Answer of 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1414W, on concessionary bus travel, what funding has been provided for bus concession travel through the formula grant process in each year for which figures are available; and how much and what percentage of that funding was allocated to Taunton Deane local authority area in each of those years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Between 2000 and 31 March 2006 the statutory minimum bus concession was half fare off-peak local bus travel within an eligible residents local authority area. During this period funding to local authorities for the statutory minimum concession through formula grant was not separately identified.
From 1 April 2006, with the improvement to the statutory minimum concession to free off-peak local bus travel within a residents local authority area, the Government provided an extra £350 million in 2006-07 and a further £367.5 million in 2007-08. The Revenue Support Grant formula does not allow us to identify how much of that formula grant funding for concessionary travel was allocated to individual local authorities such as Taunton Deane borough council in those years.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make people with mental health illnesses eligible for the national concessionary fares scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Transport Act 2000 (or for those resident in London, the Greater London Authority Act 1999) makes provision for concessionary travel for a wide range of disabled people including people with severe learning disabilities. We have no plans at present to change the eligibility criteria for statutory concessionary bus travel to include people with mental health illnesses. Local authorities retain the ability to offer discretionary concessions over and above the statutory minimum at their own expense. This can include offering concessionary travel to other categories of people, such as those with mental health problems.
Our current focus is on the successful implementation of the new all-England off-peak bus travel concession
from April this year. Any changes to the scope of the statutory minimum concession, such as extending the eligibility criteria, would significantly increase the number of people eligible for concessionary travel at any time and would have to be fully funded. The impacts would need to be considered carefully following consultation with all the interested parties.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department announced in January a £140 million investment for cycling in England over the next three years to complement local authority spend. This has a number of programmes including new routes to around 500 schools, building on the successful Links to Schools programme where £18.4 million of Government funding since 2005 has provided 295 links to over 600 schools and forms part of the National Cycle Network (NCN).
£47 million has also been allocated for extending the Cycling Demonstration Towns (CDT) programme to up to 17 towns including a large city. The outcome of the bidding process for new CDTs is due to be announced later this year. Until the new CDTs and six existing ones develop their future programmes, I am unable to say what the precise plans are for increasing the cycle network in the CDTs.
Local authorities provide on and off road cycle facilities such as cycle tracks and cycle lanes, using their Local Transport Plan (LTP) Integrated Block grant from the DfT (which covers schemes costing less than £5 million and includes such cycle schemes) plus their own funding. The Department has encouraged local authorities to develop a cycling strategy as part of the LTP process from 2006 to 2011. It is for local authorities to determine the development of the local cycle networks as part of that strategy. Sustrans, who have developed the NCN, then work with local authorities to link the local networks to it.
The aforementioned covers England only (excluding London) as that is the Departments responsibility. Responsibility for cycling in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter for the administrations there. The Mayor of London is responsible for the development of the cycle network in London.
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The Wales departmental expenditure limits for the CSR period were published in the comprehensive spending review last October. They were determined in the normal way through the published Barnett formula. The block grant for the Welsh Assembly Government for 2008-09 will be published in the Wales Office annual report later in the year. For the SR04 period, the Welsh DEL were published in the 2004 Spending Review based on the Statement of Funding
Policy published in that year. The block grant for 2007-08 was published in the 2007 Wales Office annual report. The published Barnett formula comparability factor for the Department for Transport used in the CSR is 68.3 per cent. while that for SR04 was 63.8 per cent.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice she has offered to partners in local strategic partnerships and local area agreements on cycling as a form of sustainable transport. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Specific advice related to transport (including cycling) and local area agreements Was published in December 2007 by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport entitled Local Transport Services: the Crucial Role of the New Local Performance Framework and can be viewed at:
Earlier this year the Secretary of State set out our approach to cycling in A Sustainable Approach for Cycling, the same time announcing a six fold increase in the budget for Cycling England, which will complement local authority spend. Their budget will double to £20 million next year and then rise to £60 million in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.
This investment will enable an extra 500,000 children to have access to the new Bikeability cycle training by 2012, create additional safer walking and cycling routes to at least 500 schools and allow the expansion of the Cycling Demonstration Town programme.
Ms Rosie Winterton: We do not hold data in the form requested. DART-Tags are registered against accounts and may be switched between users. The address held relates only to the account holder. In some cases there is more than one tag registered on an account.
The following figures show the number of accounts registered against addresses in these postcode areas. The account holder may not necessarily live at the address; in some cases the address will be that of a business.
|Number of accounts|
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much pre-payment income was received from DART tag holders at the Dartford River crossing in each of the last 12 months; and how many crossings were made by such customers in the last 12 months. 
|Month||Payments made by DART-Tag||Number of journeys paid by DART-Tag|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|