“PM’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ punctured by Osborne”

Cycling was dealt a blow in Westminster by the Chancellor today
Chancellor George Osborne today announced in his Autumn Statement that just £300m will be available for cycling over duration of this Parliament. At just £60m per year, this is a staggering 58% cut compared with the current year's projected spending of £142m.

Assuming that this is for the next five years and is not intended to cover London, CTC calculates that it amounts to annual spending by national Government of just £1.39 per person annually in England.

CTC, the national cycling charity, responded by declaring that the “Prime Minister’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ has been punctured by Osborne”.

While big budget projects such as £15bn for the road network and High Speed 2 benefited from the Chancellor’s largesse, cycling, walking and buses all appear to have lost out.

The Government is due to provide a fuller “Statement of Available Funds” (SOFA) for its promised Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS). This could include additional money for maintaining cycle facilities from the pothole fund also announced by the Chancellor, and aspirations to secure further funding from local authorities. However, it is hard to see it coming anywhere close to the minimum of £10 per person annually, as called for by the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.

Paul Tuohy, CTC Chief Executive, said:

Today we saw the Prime Minister’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ punctured by his friend, the Chancellor, George Osborne, and we can’t even afford a puncture repair kit."
Paul Tuohy, CTC CEO

“Today we saw the Prime Minister’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ punctured by his friend, the Chancellor, George Osborne, and we can’t even afford a puncture repair kit.

“This is not, however, about the end to a Prime Minister’s vanity project but a disaster to one of the biggest and most worthwhile projects of all.

“Cycling provides an incredibly cost-effective solution for our polluted air and congested roads, it defuses the ticking time bomb of an impending obesity epidemic, and it makes simple economic sense. Yet realising these benefits requires funding and leadership, which the Chancellor has conspicuously failed to provide.

“This Government made a manifesto commitment to double cycle use and reduce serious and fatal injuries for cyclists and other road users.  Yet it is hard to see how they can achieve this with such a tiny budget.

"Vulnerable road users now account for 60% of serious and fatal road casualties, up from 52% in recent years. We were promised safer roads, yet it seems we’re just getting more roads and more traffic. This has to be bad for our health and our environment, and will probably harm our economy too.”

CTC is urging cyclists and supporters to email their MP to support the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s letter to the Chancellor calling for at least £10 per head per year for cycling via its online action Funding for Cycling ahead of the Department for Transport's Statement of Funding Available for cycling due shortly. 

Notes to editors

1. At the start of this year, the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) was incorporated into the Infrastructure Act 2015 under the Coalition Government, following lobbying by CTC and its allies. However, it will only be subject to consultation in spring 2016, hence it is not expected to be in place until the summer at the earliest. Meanwhile, most local authorities (other than London and the Cycling Ambition Grant Cities of Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich and Newcastle), now have no certainty of funding beyond April 2016, when the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) runs out. Hence CTC and its allies will be pressing for immediate tide-over funding, as well as continuing to press for increased funding for CWIS at the earliest possible opportunity.
2. The Government had previously promised just £200m of central Government funding for cycling. CTC understands that the additional £100m confirmed in today’s announcement has been redeployed from the £15bn Roads Investment Strategy. However, we also understand that the £300m includes spending already allocated to the Cycling Ambition Grant Cities and other programmes.
3. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists have fared worst on UK roads in recent years, with these groups now accounting for 60% of serious and fatal road casualties, up from an average of 52% in 2005-9. With the exception of 2013, serious cycling injury numbers have risen every year since 2005, with these increases outstripping the growth of cycle use since 2008 (i.e. the risk per mile of a serious cycling injury has been rising).
4. CTC, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport - it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.ctc.org.uk

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