Wednesday 11 September 2013

£20m or not £20m, That's the question...

Today was Scottish budget day, the day when the money is divvied up and shared out....or generally not shared out where cycling is concerned.

But wait.......STOP THE PRESS!

(Glaswegian accent) There's been a murder......oops, sorry just watching Taggart....Not a murder, something much much rarer than that....

There has been a cycle infrastructure funding announcement! £20m for cycling! Yippeee!

But wait....yes there is lots of waiting in cycle that £20m really £20m?

Why not have a look for yourselves at the draft budget. Yes it is a tad long isn't it. It is also a tad confusing. There are those that would have you believe that the double-speak is entirely intentional with the aim to confuse. There is no single heading for Active Travel or Cycling. There are lots of little titles like CWSS, FTF, and SAT that might or might not have some extra funding for cycling in them, though none of them are exclusively for cycling or even active travel. It's all very confusing. Patrick Harvie MSP (Green) was confused in parliament today and even the bods in SPOKES, who know a thing or two about government active travel funding are confused.

So whilst the government insists that this is real money, and I'd really like to believe them on this, we just can't verify it at the moment.

If they say it's new, surely it is new!?!

Well, maybe. Unfortunately it wouldn't be the first time that an announcement of new money turns out to be a re-announcement. Politicians are know for a bit of spin.... 

If it turns out that this money is real, and if the money is to be spent on actual good stuff (i.e. not 'NICE' stuff) then I will certainly be thanking the government for the money. It would certainly be a step in the right direction.

But....and it will be a big is only a first step. The £20m is split over 2 years and the minimum we need is 5% (£100m) of the transport budget every year.  This current announcement will only be taking us to approx (according to SPOKES) about 1.4%.

One thing is absolutely certain, POP has helped to force the governments hand, so well done to everyone who came along to POP. The politicians are listening. We just need to push that little bit more at POP3 to force them all the way. We need to become loud enough that they have to fund cycling or loose their hearing.

Come on politicians, lets make Scotland's roads safe for all!

1 comment:

  1. Why do we need to have special funding for cycling? when the budget for transport providing roads should actually be delivering roads which work for all road users. It is a greatly damning feature for the M8 works carried out with great destruction and public expense that several features for pedestrian (and cycle) traffic have taken 40 years to be completed, and some measures are still unfinished business.

    Not only that but the final completion of the link that restores the continuity of a historic route which was on maps over 300 years ago (and severed by the M8) took 40 years to deliver and that only happened because the project won a prize of funding from the National Lottery NOT by the public purse funding the full cost four decades earlier.

    It took 35 years for a further pedestrian route at Charing Cross - initially added by the force of pedestrians walking on the carriageway as a cobbled together mess - to finally get a proper arrangement to cross the M8 slip road exit.

    When we see roads built for all road users we might see the required results.