Government plans "all in one" grants for 1975
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from our political correspondent
• The Government has now circulated local authorities in England and Wales with its proposals for the radical new system of transport grants which have been under discussion for some time.
Instead of the present specific grants for a wide range of purposes at different rates, there will be an "all in one" grant based on comprehensive programmes of expenditure.
Legislation will be needed to introduce the new system, now being discussed with local authority associations, but it is the Government's aim to bring in the new arrangements in the financial year 1975-76.
Present specific grants are paid sometimes to transport operators, sometimes to local authorities.
This, the DoE claims, does not facilitate a comprehensive approach to local transport )roblems.
Under the proposals described in the :ircular as many as possible of the existing .pecific grants — for roads, rural bus ervices, public transport infrastructure chemes, new buses and uneconomic railway ines — would be replaced by a unified ystem.
Part of the money at present distributed specific grants would be absorbed into le rate support grant.
The remainder would be distributed as applementary transport grants to those ew county councils and the Greater London Council whose estimated transport expenditure was more than the amount annually negotiated with local authorities.
The Government plans to allocate the new grant on the basis of comprehensive statements, submitted each year by county councils and the GLC, of their estimated transport expenditures for the relevant year. backed by a statement of transport policies for their areas.
Objectives of the new system are: O To promote the development and execution of comprehensive transport plans.
O Eliminate bias towards capital or current expenditure or towards particular forms of expenditure.
O Distribute central government grant in a way that reflects the needs of individual areas.
O Reduce detailed supervision by central government over individual schemes. Grants to be abolished include rural bus and ferry grants, public transport infrastructure grants and contributions towards the cost of transport studies.
Expenditure eligible for supplementary grant aid will include all inland transport, excluding airports, harbours, canals and freight operation, whether by local authorities directly or to public transport operators including London Transport, British Rail, Passenger Transport Executives, the National Bus Company or other bus operators.