Labour has accused the Government of acting on partisan lines after ministers overturned its amendments to the Bus Services Bill, which completed all its Commons stages this week.
The Bill was considered at Report Stage and Third Reading on Monday (27 March) and will now be considered by the House of Lords, where it originated last year.
The Buses Bill has returned to the Lords
The Government succeeded in reversing changes to the legislation that would have extended automatic franchising powers beyond mayoral combined authorities and re-inserted a clause that bans local authorities from forming new municipal bus companies.
Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour’s shadow minister for buses, told Transport Network: ‘We support the Bus Services Bill because it will go some way to improving the bus system in this country, reversing decades of damage caused by Tory deregulation.
‘This Bill is rightly underscored by cross-party consensus, as it will give some local communities greater powers to control the bus services in their areas – powers for which Labour has fought for years.
‘Unfortunately the Government acted on partisan lines and removed Labour’s amendments that would have made this legislation a better Bill.’
‘We were particularly disappointed that the Government limited the new powers to areas with directly elected mayors, and have prohibited councils from forming their own bus companies in the future, which has worked very well for bus passengers in places like Nottingham and Reading.’
He added: ‘A Labour Government would overturn that ban, and also give local communities across the entire country powers to plan and run their own networks.’
The Government also fought off Labour amendments strengthening TUPE [Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)] provisions and requirements that all buses delivering schemes meet a certain environmental standard as set out by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles.