The statement came in a government response to a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee.
MPs published the report following an inquiry into the impact of government austerity measures on bus services outside London.
Local authorities seemed destined to make deeper cuts to their tendered bus service budgets in 2012–13 than the current year, they warned.
The report called on the government to demonstrate that it had learned lessons from mistakes made during the current round of cuts to bus services.
In its response, the government insists it remains committed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review to continue subsidising bus operators.
“We understand that buses are a lifeline for many people in both rural and urban areas – providing access to jobs, schools, health care and social activities.”
The Bus Service Operators Grant remained untouched for this financial year, with the 20% savings to be introduced from next April, said the government.
A 20% reduction, after a notice period of 16 months, represented a “manageable impact” on bus operators and passengers, it added.
The response, by the Department for Transport, makes specific mention of rural bus service provision.
Community transport initiatives have a role in filling gaps left by the withdrawal of commercial and supported bus services, it says.
“It is the government’s policy to reduce the number of funding streams and remove ring- fencing where possible,” it says.
This will allow local authorities the decision-making and spending autonomy necessary to address local needs, the response claims.
“The Rural Bus Subsidy Grant was not previously ring-fenced.”
Defra was ensuring the government’s key transport programmes and policies fully accounted for the needs and aspirations of rural communities.
In addition, Defra alongside the Department for Transport was developing research to investigate the state of the rural community transport sector.
This would include looking at ways rural communities are responding positively to deliver innovative local community transport services.
MPs had welcomed the decision to allocate an additional £10 million funding to kick-start and support community transport in rural areas.
The response says this allocation was made possible by “careful management” of departmental spending during 2010/11.