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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Secretary of State will be obliged to consult the mayor before determining the amounts of grant to pay to the GLA. It would be very surprising if the mayor did not make public the content of those consultations. It would also be surprising if noble Lords and Members of another place with an interest did not table parliamentary Questions asking about the basis for the determinations.

We do not agree that the Secretary of State should be under a duty to publish the cost assumptions on which the amount of grant has been determined. Noble Lords will be aware of the clear principle that policy advice to Ministers should not be published. This amendment would not add anything to the information that will already be in the public domain. Therefore, I feel sure that I can ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I always wonder at the wording of parliamentary etiquette. When the Minister feels sure she can ask me; for sure she always can. The question has to be whether I shall accede to the request. In this instance--

Baroness Hamwee: I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I sense that the noble Lord may be about to withdraw his amendment. Perhaps I may interrupt him to ask the Minister whether a cost assumption is a matter of policy. It seems to me to be based on economic assessments, and so on, and not something which is confined to the policy area.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Surely there is an element of judgment in putting together the amount in the end in terms of policy and priorities. In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, if he calls me Pangloss, I am bound to assume that he is prepared to withdraw an amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: We are back in the business of discussing open government. I believe that it would not be disagreed anywhere on this side of the Committee that the way the Bill is drafted and the way the Government are answering these questions leaves something to be desired on the question of openness. In the light of that comment, I shall study with care what the Minister said in response to the amendment. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 85 agreed to.

Clause 86 [GLA transport grant]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 225A:

Page 49, line 27, at end insert ("but the amount of the grant shall increase by at least the annual rate of the Retail Price Index in each year beginning from the Authority's second financial year.").

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The noble Baroness said: Clause 86 provides that the Secretary of State will provide what is to be called the "GLA transport grant" to the authority for the purposes of transport for London. Our amendment provides that the amount of the grant shall increase by at least the annual rate of RPI in each year from the second year of operation of the authority.

As I mentioned in the debate on borrowing, it is important that Londoners have confidence that public transport is regarded by central government, as well as by the authority, as a very high priority. Indeed, from everything that has been said by the Government about the functions of the GLA and about getting London moving, I believe that they regard transport as a high priority.

The public must not be allowed to think that congestion and parking charges will go into a general pot rather than into improving public transport. We did not agree with the amendment proposed earlier today which linked in that case the precept to the rate of RPI. Amendment No. 225A, which is extremely modest, appropriately links the grant to RPI. There is a closer connection, although if any Member of the Committee has any other basis for ensuring that the GLA grant is kept up in a manner which the public would regard as keeping up with inflation, we are open to suggestion.

The general point is a question of public confidence and support for what the authority is doing. The travelling public must believe that the GLA is keeping up the proper level of investment in London's transport system. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: I understand that the noble Baroness is after a degree of stability in the funding of transport, but that will arise when the mayor produces the plan, when the plan is agreed by central government and when we have some means of delivering that plan. To link the level of government grant to the RPI is potentially counterproductive and unhelpful to the mayor. The mayor may want, for example, to see some substantial increases over a short period of time in order to meet the costs of a major project which needs to fit in with the general timetable planned. Were central government to look at that request and know that that exceptionally high level of grant would thereafter be linked to RPI, they might well hesitate to accede, whatever their political complexion at that point.

Although I understand what lies behind the amendment, it may be counterproductive and I hope therefore that the noble Baroness will not press it. In relation to the congestion charge situation, I can reassure Members of the Committee again that the money arising from the road-user charging scheme will be available for transport projects. It will be hypothecated entirely to transport projects for the first 10 years of each scheme. There is therefore a built-in stability in that respect. This amendment does not add to that and it could deter a future Secretary of State from allocating specific resources to a specific need.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: Perhaps I may ask the Minister a specific question. He may already have made this point and I missed it.

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Behind Amendment No. 225A lies the question of additionality. There is real concern that the new revenue stream will be a substitute for existing income or existing permissions to spend (however one phrases it) in London on transport or other objectives. If the Minister could reassure the Committee today and, through us, a wider world that the principle of additionality is built into the way in which the Government regard this Bill and the revenue streams we are discussing--that is, the current transport grant and the new revenue streams--that would go some way to making these amendments unnecessary.

Lord Whitty: That is probably the wrong question. Additionality and non-additionality are not the issue; the issue is whether the mayor proposed a plan which needed to be financed, whether the Government agreed that plan, and whether adequate revenues were available for it. The source of those revenues will certainly include hypothecated road-user charges. For many years to come--I suspect, well beyond the 10 years that we are talking about now--London will require substantial additional transport grant from the centre. The question of additionality therefore does not arise in that context. The key is need and whether that need can be financed by the various revenue sources.

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee: I believe that my noble friend's question was exactly the right question, even if it was an awkward question. The concerns expressed about the hypothecation of the two income streams are understood by the Minister when he says that he anticipates that they will be hypothecated for many more than the 10 years of which we have heard. That will certainly be necessary because it will take a large chunk of those 10 years to get such schemes off the ground.

Lord Whitty: I will clarify the position for the sake of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I did not say that the hypothecation would necessarily last more than 10 years for each scheme that is started within the next 10 years. I said that I suspected that grants could be necessary for well beyond that period. I clarify that point just in case.

Baroness Hamwee: The Minister is absolutely right. I did not mean to put words into his mouth. Perhaps I was hoping to understand something of what was in his mind, but I would not like the noble Lord to find disfavour with the Chancellor.

The Minister challenged our amendment on the basis that it might be counter-productive but it is specifically worded as a minimum. We used the words,

    "the amount of the grant shall increase by at least the annual rate of the Retail Price Index". so I do not think that could be regarded as prejudicing the cause.

The main point is the question of additionality and stability, as identified by the Minister. If I were confident that central government were committed to funding the transport strategy and its implementation--

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including local implementation plans--I would have felt less need to table the amendment. However, for the moment I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 86 agreed to.

Clauses 87 to 91 agreed to.

Clause 92 [Judicial review]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment 225B:

Page 52, line 4, leave out from ("1999") to end of line 5 and insert--
("(cd) a substitute calculation made in accordance with any of sections 70, 71 and 73 to 75 of, and Schedule 6 to, that Act;".").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 92, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 93 [Functions to be discharged only by certain authorities]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment 225C:

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