On visits to Manchester, chancellor George Osborne agrees bus franchising powers for new mayor and opposition leader Ed Miliband backs adoption of London-style regulation


Pictured: George Osborne during his visit to Greater Manchester last week


The Conservative and Labour parties have each issued strong statements of support for moves to reverse bus deregulation in England, outside of London.

Speaking in Manchester on October 31, opposition leaderEd Miliband made London-style bus regulation a central element of Labour’s plans to spread power across England’s regions. “The next Labour government will hand regions that want it the power to regulate their bus services,” he said.

“Labour will legislate so that city and county regions can set fares, decide routes and integrate bus services with trams, trains and the wider public transport network.”

Three days later, chancellor George Osborne announced that Greater Manchester will get its own directly-elected mayor. He surprised the bus industry by pledging that the new mayor would have “responsibilities for franchised bus services”. It is the first time a senior Tory has backed a reversal of bus deregulation, which was introduced by the party in the mid-1980s.


Related coverage in the latest issue of Passenger Transport:

Bus reform at heart of Labour devolution plan
Ed Miliband says bus regulation has been ‘ignored’ for too long and pledges legislation, but Stagecoach boss attacks ‘uncosted and unnecessary’ plan

Osborne backs new bus powers for Manchester
TfGM Committee chair hails ‘historic announcement’

McLoughlin: private sector has ‘vital role’
Reassuring words offered in wake of Manchester deal

O’Toole warns on affordability
FirstGroup chief confident of private sector’s case

Bus operators make smart ticketing pledge
‘Transformational’ initiative to bring London-style smart ticketing to England’s largest cities announced, but critics say deregulation is a barrier

‘The Big Mo’ is now with bus regulation
Recent moves by the most senior political figures in the land have put large scale momentum behind devolution and bus regulation


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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