Fleet News

Ministers in bid to save white paper initiatives

MINISTERS are attempting to rescue transport white paper initiatives amid rumours that the document's proposals will be left out of legislation scheduled for the next Parliamentary session. Fear of annoying car users is believed to worry Tony Blair, and questions have been raised over whether the Prime Minister will block a transport bill for the next Parliament.

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions officials are planning to out-manoeuvre such a 'snub' by including white paper proposals in the Bill to establish the London mayor and Greater London Authority. Friends of the Earth has received details of confidential advice given to Minister for Transport in London Glenda Jackson, which shows a plan to get around the absence of a transport bill in the Queen's Speech.

This would see the GLA Bill for London act as a Trojan horse for key transport proposals in the capital, if not the country. These proposals include the right for local authorities to road charge and levy a workplace parking tax. A spokesman for the DETR said it would not comment on leaked documents.

Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, whose brief includes transport policy, dismissed the national newspaper speculation as 'journalistic tittle-tattle' in an interview on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme and urged people to wait for the Queen's Speech in the autumn to see the shape of the next legislative programme.

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