Issue Date: 24 December 2010
The outcome for the waterways of the Government’s Spending Review is becoming clearer. Defra announced funding for Arms Length Bodies on Monday 20 December http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/2010/12/20/budget-allocations-101220/. This included the Grant-in-Aid for British Waterways. There is a 19% reduction in grant for 2011/12 compared to the current year. British Waterways has said that this cut means that it will have to take difficult decisions http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/newsroom/all-press-releases/display/id/2934.
The charitable body which the Government wishes to establish to manage the British Waterways network is intended to be in place by 1 April 2012. The proposed settlement envisages a cut of 24% in grant (£39m compared to £51.3m in 2010/11) for the remainder of the Spending Review period and the Government is understood to have committed that its contract with the charity would not be less than £39m per year through to 2022/23.
Whilst IWA welcomes the commitment to a long term government contract for the charity. It is both surprised and deeply disappointed at the scale of the cuts. IWA intends to seek information from British Waterways about the practical implications for the waterways and subject to the outcome will want to talk to Ministers about those implications not just for British Waterways but also about the financial viability of the charity.