Sir Patrick Cormack: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what grants his Department and its predecessor provided to subsidise public transport in rural areas in England in (a) 2001, (b) 2005 and (c) 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
The written answer given to the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) on 26 January 2009 contained a typographical error in the table detailing the total of grants paid to local authorities under the rural bus subsidy grant and the rural bus challenge. The figure given for the sum paid under the rural bus subsidy grant in 2008-09£157 millionwas incorrect.
Paul Clark: The annual totals of grants paid to local authorities under the rural bus subsidy grant (RBSG) and rural bus challenge (RBC) schemes for the relevant financial years are shown in the following table.
|(1) Paid to local authorities as part of their area-based grant.|
In addition, local authorities support rural transport services using funds from the unhypothecated revenue support grant and local bus service operators, including those in rural areas, receive bus service operators grant from this Department.
Rural railways are funded as part of franchises covering both rural and urban areas or by grants to Network Rail which operates both rural and non rural railway. No separate figures are available for rural rail support.
Mr. Hands: The Exchequer Secretary has mentioned 31 per cent. twice. Does that represent a decrease from a recent high or a decline over the course of the Governments tenure? Expenditure on consultants has dramatically increased since 1997.
The figure relates to the last Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office report on the matter, which was published in 2001-02. I make that clear so that hon. Members are not under the wrong impression.
Angela Eagle: The information was contained in a letter dated 11 March 2009 from the Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce to the hon. Member for Gainsborough. The reduction of consultancy spend of 31 per cent. was between 2005-06 and 2007-08. I make that clear so that hon. Members are not under the wrong impression.