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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 250B:

Page 206, line 15, after ("to") insert ("sub-paragraph (1A) and")

The noble Baroness said: These amendments do a number of reasonably simple things. Amendment No. 250C requires the assembly's approval by a simple majority for an appointment made to the TfL board by the mayor. Amendment No. 250B is the paving amendment for that amendment. Amendment No. 251B would allow the assembly a say in the determination of the terms and conditions of TfL board members. Amendment No. 251C would require the mayor to seek the approval of the assembly by a simple majority for the removal of a TfL member. That refers to the fact that the assembly could approve the appointment. Finally, Amendment No. 252A would allow the assembly a say in the appointment of the chair of Transport for London. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, clearly described the purpose of her amendments. However, I believe that they are based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between the mayor and TfL and the mayor and the assembly.

TfL's major role will be to deliver the mayor's transport strategy. TfL is the mayor's executive body, and a vital tool for him or her in delivering the improvements to transport in London which I know we all want to see. It is the mayor who will be accountable to the people of London for his or her performance on transport. The buck will stop with the mayor. The mayor must be able to appoint to the TfL board people whom she or he believes are the best for the job.

It is vital that the key management and leadership roles of chairman and deputy chairman are filled by people in whom the mayor has confidence. As we said

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in the White Paper, posts will be advertised and selection will be on merit with an independent element in the selection process following normal public service procedure. We have also said that we will expect the mayor, in line with Nolan procedures, to involve an independent element in the appointments process, and that we will provide guidance on that. This will safeguard against the mayor packing the board.

Turning to Amendments Nos. 251B and 252A, if it is the mayor's responsibility to appoint members it must also be for the mayor to decide on what terms and conditions they should be appointed and in what circumstances a member should be removed. If the mayor feels that a member is not up to the job, she or he must be able to do something about it without having to go through a complex and inappropriate procedure.

6 p.m.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I heard what the Minister said. However, it is not so much that we do not understand, but rather that there is a fundamental disagreement between us as regards the desirable relative roles of the mayor, the assembly and, indeed, the Secretary of State. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 250C not moved.]

Lord Swinfen moved Amendment No. 251:

Page 206, line 32, at end insert--
("(3A) The Mayor shall appoint as members of Transport for London--
(a) a person who has personal experience of being a disabled person; and
(b) a person who is an older person.")

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 252, 267, 268, 269, 271 and 273. In no way dare I even seek to emulate the performance of the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, with the number of amendments that he moved in one group; indeed, it was magnificent.

I shall begin with Amendments Nos. 251 and 252, the purpose of which is to ensure that Transport for London, through its board members, is fully and properly informed of the needs, views and wishes of disabled and older Londoners. Schedule 8 to the Bill requires the mayor to,

    "have regard to the desirability of ensuring that the ... membership of Transport for London represents the interests in relation to transport ... of persons who require transport which is accessible to persons with mobility problems". Older and disabled people, and their organisations, believe that the best way of achieving that is for the TfL board to have members who are older and disabled and that these members should be supported and informed by a forum of organisations of older and disabled people.

The Government's commitment to best value and social inclusion argues that the best advocates for services are the service users themselves. Older and disabled people and their organisations do not feel that

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it is sufficient for the mayor to appoint as their representatives people who have no democratic mandate and who may know little of the needs of older and disabled people, other than their personal experience.

Amendments Nos. 267, 268, 269 and 273 have the purpose of ensuring that whenever Transport for London proposes to introduce a new local bus service or vary an existing one the impact on older and disabled people is taken into account through consultation. Clause 148 requires TfL to consult various interests when proposing to introduce a new bus service or vary an existing one. These amendments seek to add,

    "organisations of older and disabled people", to the list of statutory consultees, and,

    "the effect of the proposal on older and disabled people", to the list of matters about which consultation must take place.

Disabled and older people are particularly dependent on buses, being usually poorer and less frequently owning cars or having access to cars. Indeed, some 72 per cent of London pensioners do not own a car. Buses are the form of transport that goes closest to people's homes. It is disabled and older people who have more to gain and, more importantly, more to lose from developments in London's transport than other members of the population.

Amendment No. 271, which really needs to run with Amendments Nos. 267, 268, 269 and 273, is designed to ensure that the mayor's guidance on granting permits to run bus services outside the London bus network protects the interests of disabled and older people by identifying the interests of those who must be consulted in the preparation or revision of the guidance. The amendments seek to add the same list of statutory consultees to the mayor's consultation as regards his guidance on the granting of London bus service permits. I beg to move.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: As I have added my name to these amendments, I should like briefly and warmly to support the whole group. It is totally sensible and logical for TfL to have individual members with experience of age and disability, backed up by a forum of organisations with experience; indeed, LATA already exists. Obviously, before any change in a bus service or before granting bus service permits, the relevant organisations should be consulted about the likely impact. The Minister may well say that this is quite unnecessary because they are all so obvious. However, while there is much more awareness about these issues nowadays, things can be overlooked, forgotten or swept aside and the resulting chaos can be difficult and often expensive to put right.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My name has been attached to some of these amendments. I should like to ask the Minister a fairly straightforward question. Can the noble Lord say how the Government, and the Bill, foresee the consultation process with regard to these particular users of transport? The Minister mentioned guidance in relation to the membership of

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Transport for London. Will that guidance indicate that it would be desirable to have persons who represent disabled or older people on the TfL board?

Lord Whitty: The first of these amendments deals with representation on the TfL board. In one sense, there is no specification as to what organisations people on the board should come from. But under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 8 the mayor will be under the duty to have regard to the desirability of ensuring that the membership of TfL represents the interests of those who require accessible transport. We do not believe that we should lay down in the Bill precisely how the interests of those needing accessible transport, including the disabled, should be represented on the TfL board. Indeed, that would cut across the general approach to membership of the board. However, I believe that the provision in Schedule 8 meets the requirement in the amendments that people with experience of age and disability should be on the board. If we start specifying such organisations, there may well be more difficult problems.

As regards consultation, with which the remaining amendments deal, there is clearly some concern that what I keep calling the "implication of the Bill" is not for real unless you have an amendment of this nature. I shall try, once again, to indicate where the consultation under the Bill as drafted would meet the aims of the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, and other Members of the Committee who have spoken. The reference in Clause 27 of the Bill to "voluntary bodies" will, in practice, ensure that consultation occurs with representatives of disabled people.

When drawing up the transport strategy, the mayor must consider consulting those voluntary bodies. Under Clause 124, the strategy must contain the mayor's proposals for transport which is accessible to those with mobility problems. The logic of that is that the mayor has to consult all those with an interest; in other words, he must consult voluntary bodies representing those with mobility problems and the disabled. Admittedly, it is more explicit in relation to the local boroughs in Clause 127 where the local implementation plans must contain a borough's proposal for implementing a strategy in its area. That explicitly provides that boroughs will be under a duty to consult organisations representing disabled people when drawing up their local implementation plans. It is also explicitly stated in the Bill that the London Transport Users' Committee must be consulted in this whole process. The LTUC, like the LRPC, has people to advise it on matters relating to accessibility and mobility. There is no reason why the LTUC should be difficult in this regard.

We contend that the present requirements of the Bill indicate that disabled groups must be consulted through the logic of the interplay of the various clauses. However, I suspect that noble Lords will continue to raise this issue unless it is explicitly spelt out, or they feel after reading Hansard that my words are so explicit that there is no further need to raise the issue. If the Committee will allow me, I shall consult further on the

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matter of how we meet what is an obvious concern, but one which we feel has already been met in the Bill as drafted.

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