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The Earl of Clancarty moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 470A, Amendment No. 470AA:

Line 3, leave out (“if requested to do so by the Mayor,").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving this amendment I shall speak to Amendment No. 470B. I am glad that the Minister has moved part of the way towards us in having accepted the principle of an independent penalty fares appeals body. But his amendment is still deficient in two respects. First, and most fundamentally, as covered by Amendment No. 470AA, the Government's amendment does not as it stands guarantee that an appeals body will be set up. It may be something that happens at some point in the future, or at worst it is forgotten about entirely. The considerable amount of press coverage which has been devoted to penalty fares in recent months and the large number of complaints which LRPC is still receiving reflect growing public concern about this matter and confirm that an independent body ought to be set up right away. London Transport should not be allowed to continue to act any longer than necessary as both judge and jury.

Secondly, as covered by my Amendment No. 470B, it is important that there should be proper consultation with other bodies, including LTUC, the Rail Regulator and other operators. As I said earlier, the Rail Regulator is keen to encourage best practice sharing of penalty fares schemes. At present London Transport is far too stubbornly isolationist in its approach, with the current disastrous results.

Perhaps the Minister can give an explicit assurance in this debate that there will be such consultation on an independent tribunal if one were set up--better still that he can accept my amendment. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, we are grateful to the Minister for his amendment and his explanation. But what happens if the mayor does not request the Secretary of State to make the regulations? The Minister recognised that as a possibility. It may not be in the mayor's interest to do so, especially if he is closely involved in TfL, which possibly will still have a similar ethos to that of the old London Transport. The noble Earl has just called London Transport stubborn and isolationist. I am not sure whether that will amuse it. Some members of the public would accept that view. There is a case for more encouragement of the mayor and TfL to request the Secretary of State to make these regulations.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I resist these amendments, mainly for the reasons that I have set out. In the

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interim position it is already the case that London Transport has accepted that there is serious public concern about this matter and is taking steps for its internal appeals procedure to operate with greater customer focus. But it is important that we leave to the mayor the overall assessment of how the penalty fares system operates so that the precise form of the independent appeals system can fit in with the way in which he sees the process operating.

I believe that it is important that we leave some of the decisions to the mayor to take in the context of his wider decisions. I am sure that the objectives of the noble Earl's second amendment will be carried out by the mayor. He has a general consultation requirement. Any change in the excess fares regime would fall under that consultation without having to be separately prescribed.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, does he recognise that our concern is not so much how the mayor sets up the penalty scheme but if he sets it up?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, we are talking legislation when we should be talking politics. The political reality is that any mayor will promise at some point during his mayoral campaign that he will set up an independent appeals panel. How that fits in with his other proposals on excess fares may differ between different candidates. However, there is no doubt in my mind that any mayor will do it, but it must be his choice; and the context in which it is proposed should be down to the mayor and not the Secretary of State--an argument which has been put forward by the Benches opposite in other contexts quite frequently during the course of the Bill.

The Earl of Clancarty: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his remarks. I shall read Hansard closely tomorrow. I can see no real reason why the Government should drag their feet on this issue and not set up a tribunal immediately. I ask the Minister to consider the issue again and take that extra critical step forward to make the appeals body mandatory. However, for now I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 470B, as an amendment to Amendment No. 470A, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 470A agreed to.

[Amendment No. 471 not moved.]

Clause 218 [The London Transport Users' Committee]:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 471A:

Page 121, line 36, after (“body") insert (“corporate").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 472A to 472D, 473A, 474A to 474G, 475WA to 475ZA and 576YA. We believe that with its wider remit the London Transport Users' Committee will successfully

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build on the best traditions of the London Regional Passengers Committee. As part of the new democratic structures for London, it will ensure that the user's voice is clearly heard when the mayor and assembly consider transport provision in the capital.

These amendments fill out the LTUC remit, and more clearly define its relationship with the assembly. We have also given careful consideration to some of the points raised by noble Lords at Committee. For example, the noble Baronesses, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, and Lady Hamwee, will note that Amendment No. 472A addresses their concern about ensuring the committee is properly representative of the wider community of rail users in the area for which the LTUC is a rail users' consultative committee. Similarly, the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, will see that we have provided for LTUC's accounting and audit procedures.

As I indicated to the House during our debates in Committee we have brought forward our proposals for the assembly to issue guidance and directions to the LTUC, to establish firmly the new relationship between the assembly and committee.

Amendment No. 475ZA relates to directions by the assembly. It concerns itself with the relationship between the assembly and the Transport Users' Consultative Committee.

Amendment No. 472C deals with accounts and audits. As I said, the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, tabled an amendment in Committee to establish requirements for audit. The Government have reflected further on the matter, and this amendment ensures that the committee has a requirement placed upon it to produce proper accounts for audit, and to ensure that the assembly appoints an auditor who is fit for the purpose. Amendment No. 471A establishes LTUC as a body corporate, thus giving it formal legal status.

Amendment No. 472A deals with representation of passengers from the RUCC area. Concern was expressed in Committee that the assembly might not appoint committee members who would be representative of the area covered. We considered this matter carefully and sought to clarify it.

Amendment No. 474B deals with the exclusion of freight. Amendments Nos. 474A, C, D, E, F and G, 475WA and 475“A deal with the inclusion of taxis and minicabs. As noble Lords will be aware, after considering representations from the users of transport in London, the London Transport Users' Committee is intended to shadow the full range of services and facilities provided to transport users by Transport for London. It is to be a committee for users of services relating to personal transport whether by private or public means. We have therefore introduced these amendments to make clear that the remit does not cover freight and to clarify the LTUC role in respect of taxis and minicabs.

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Amendment No. 475YA deals with voluntary arrangements, providing in a practical way for the remit of LTUC to adapt to any future changes in transport provision in Greater London; for example, new service providers outside the TfL umbrella.

Amendment No. 472B places responsibility on the assembly to provide funds for the salary and pension of the chair of the committee in the same way as it provides for the costs of the LTUC secretariat. Amendment No. 473A brings the LTUC within the jurisdiction of the Commission for Local Administration, the body noble Lords will recognise as the local government ombudsman. Amendment No. 576YA is a consequential change to the Local Government Act 1974 arising from Amendment No. 473A. I beg to move.

Earl Bathurst: My Lords, the Minister mentioned minicabs. She has proposed a number of complicated and technical amendments, but can she tell the House that the mayor will ensure that the drivers of minicabs are licensed by the police, as are black cab drivers?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, the noble Earl may wish to note that the consideration of representations on taxis and minicabs is not intended to interfere with the process of law or the investigation of breaches of conditions of licence. Rather it is intended to cover complaints about quality of service, such as the failure of a taxi or minicab to turn up for a pre-booked journey.

The amendments make clear that complaints relating to matters of law, such as drivers' conduct or roadworthiness, should be referred to the relevant authorities within TfL.

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