§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for each year since 1997(a) the amount paid to Shropshire from the Rural Bus fund and (b) the number of new or improved bus services in Shrewsbury; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
Rural Bus Subsidy Grant was introduced in 1998–99, in that year Shropshire received £630,354 and introduced 46 new or improved rural bus services. In 1999–2000 the grant was the same but the number of services grew to 58. Shropshire has again been allocated £630,354 for the current financial year.298W
Shropshire was also successful with two bids totalling £43,500 in the 1999 Rural Bus Challenge competition. They have also bid for funding from this year's competition; we hope to announce the results of that shortly.
We have already announced that the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant is to continue and that the funding will be increased in future years. The Rural White Paper includes details of our intention to extend the grant to also provide for services in and around market towns.