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Earl Bathurst: My Lords, the Minister has given an interesting reply, but is she aware that there is a great deal of ill feeling among registered London cab drivers who, without doubt, provide the best taxi service in the world? They believe that if minicab drivers who do not possess the same skills are allowed to operate there will be a serious reduction in the London taxi service.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I should like to write in detail to the noble Earl. I commend to him the expertise of his noble friend Lady Gardner of Parkes, who dealt with a Bill tackling this very problem.

Earl Bathurst: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. Of course, I did not expect an answer straight away. However, I assure her that if that provision is within the amendment, it is a serious problem.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood moved Amendment No. 472:

Page 122, line 3, after (“use") insert (“public").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I expect that the amendments in this group are probably quite familiar to Members of the House, as we have viewed

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them before. They have as their objective the transformation, in a way, of LTUC into a body which represents the interests of those using public transport rather than the interests of those using all forms of transport.

As I said in Committee, there are already several powerful bodies which represent the interests of cyclists, those who travel in cars (the AA, the RAC and so on) and pedestrians. In fact, almost anyone who moves by whatever means of locomotion has an extremely powerful voice and is quite rightly served by people who can make excellent representations on their behalf.

Therefore, it is our contention, and has been throughout, that the LTUC, which is the successor body to the LRPC should, like the LRPC, only represent the interests of those using public passenger transport. It would then be up to the assembly, or Transport for London, or whoever it is to which those various bodies make their representations, to weigh up the balance as between the interests of one set of transport users and another.

In Committee, the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington of Ribbleton, responded that it was necessary for the Government

    “to bring forward amendments to clarify the structure. The LTUC will be appointed by the assembly"--

I am aware of that provision and I support it--

    “and we will bring forward amendments to allow the assembly to issue guidance and directions to LTUC".--[Official Report, 5/7/99; col. 604-5.]

That is what one of the amendments which we have just passed does. My contention is that that does not impinge upon the main point we have been making, namely that there will be under the new dispensation, if it goes ahead, no one whose sole job it is to represent the interests of those--who are indeed the majority of those using transport in London--who travel by public transport. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I hope that I may persuade the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, that her concerns have been addressed by the amendments we have just debated. We naturally want LTUC to speak up for passengers, in the same way as the London Regional Passengers' Committee does now. Unfortunately, the noble Baroness's amendments would fundamentally change the nature of the body which we wish to establish and would run the risk of marginalising the interests of some travellers who cannot use public transport. The London Transport Users' Committee is intended to provide a service for all users of transport services and facilities provided by TfL and to assist the assembly in its consideration of the way in which the mayor and Transport for London are performing in delivering integrated transport services for the capital.

Noble Lords will note from the amendments just agreed that we intend to clarify the way in which the assembly makes appointments so that it has to have specific regard to ensure that members of the committee between them represent the interests of

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passengers on the national railway network in the LTUC area, as well as those using TfL services and facilities. Large numbers of people who travel to London by surface rail switch to bus and Underground services for their onward journeys. Therefore, public transport users should be well represented on the LTUC.

The amendments would deprive a significant number of transport users of a representative voice. It would not be right to single out a particular group of transport users in that way; for example, the amendments would mean that complaints from disabled motorists could not be considered by LTUC.

However, we are conscious that the committee may benefit from some guidance by the assembly on the way it should discharge its functions. That is why we brought forward amendments to enable the assembly to issue guidance and directions to the committee. In that way, the assembly will be able to indicate how LTUC should carry out its duties. Such an issue is best left to the assembly. I hope that my remarks have convinced the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas of Walliswood, that we have taken her concerns very seriously and that she will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, I concede that the amendments with regard to membership of LTUC are an improvement on the position as it existed in the Bill as first drafted in that there will be representatives of those who travel by public transport on the LTUC whereas previously that was not the case.

However, the Minister will not be surprised that I am not entirely convinced by her arguments because I accept that our approach to this matter is quite different from hers. However, I am convinced that I shall make no progress in relation to the amendment this evening and I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 472A:

Page 122, line 4, at end insert (“, and
(b) those who use rail passenger transport facilities and services in the area for which the Committee is treated as the Rail Users' Consultative Committee by virtue of section 2(4) of the Railways Act 1993").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 14 [London Transport Users' Committee]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 472B to 472D:

Page 261, line 28, at end insert--
(“3A. The Assembly shall provide the Committee with funds with which to make payments in accordance with any determination made by the Assembly under paragraphs 1 to 3 above.").

19 Oct 1999 : Column 1087

Page 262, line 15, at end insert--
6A.--(1) The Committee shall keep accounting records which--
(a) set out and explain the Committee's financial transactions,
(b) disclose with reasonable accuracy the financial status of the Committee at any time, and
(c) enable the Committee to comply with the requirements of this Act in preparing any statement of accounts.
(2) The Committee shall prepare in respect of each financial year a statement of accounts giving a true and fair view of--
(a) the Committee's financial status at the end of that year, and
(b) the Committee's income and expenditure for that year.
(3) If the Assembly issues guidance to the Committee as to the preparation of a statement of accounts, the Committee shall prepare the statement of accounts in compliance with the direction.
(4) A statement of accounts shall be audited by a person appointed by the Assembly as auditor to do so.
(5) A person shall not be qualified to be appointed as auditor unless--
(a) he is eligible for appointment as a company auditor under Part II of the Companies Act 1989 (eligibility for appointment as company auditor), and
(b) if the Committee were a company to which section 384 of the Companies Act 1985 applies (duty to appoint auditors), he would not be ineligible for appointment as company auditor of the Committee by virtue of section 27 of the Companies Act 1989 (ineligibility on ground of lack of independence).
(6) As soon as reasonably practicable after a statement of accounts has been audited, the auditor shall send a copy to the Assembly.
(7) The Committee's financial year shall be such period as may be determined by the Assembly and notified to the Committee.").
Page 262, line 34, leave out from first (“the") to first (“the") in line 35 and insert (“provisions of this Schedule").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 473 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 473A:

Page 263, line 25, at end insert--
(“Investigation of complaints
13A.--(1) Section 25 of the Local Government Act 1974 (authorities subject to investigation by the Commission for Local Administration) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1)--
(a) the word “and" preceding paragraph (d) shall cease to have effect; and
(b) at the end of paragraph (d) there shall be inserted “; and
(e) the London Transport Users' Committee."
(3) After subsection (4A) (which is inserted by section 63(3) above) there shall be inserted--
“(4B) Any reference to an authority to which this Part of this Act applies also includes, in the case of the London Transport Users' Committee, a reference to a sub-committee of that Committee."").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 219 [Representations to the Committee]:

19 Oct 1999 : Column 1088

[Amendment No. 474 not moved.]

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