December 2010
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Spokes 2011/12 budget submission

Spokes has submitted a response to the draft Scottish budget.   Now we need your help in contacting your MSPs in support

Following our initial thoughts on the Scottish Government’s draft 2011/12 budget, we have now submitted a formal Spokes response to the budget [pdf 229k].

Our response has been submitted to the Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee [TICC] who are seeking views on the budget to assist in their questioning of Finance Secretary John Swinney, and in preparation of their own Parliamentary report on the draft budget.

Most importantly, our response calls for an assurance that the CWSS scheme [Cycling, Walking, Safer Streets] will be retained; and that total cycling investment will be increased to a level which allows the government to meet its own ambitious target that 10% of all trips will be by bike in 2020.

Our submission outlines the history of cycling investment during this Parliament (declining every year, but with a recovery this year almost back to the starting point), and the various ways in which funding mechanisms have been changed by the government during its time in office (some good changes, some bad; some intentional, some as side-effects of other decisions).

The submission then attempts to estimate the level of annual cycling investment needed to enable the government to meet its 2020 bike-use target.   Our estimate may be very rough, but at least we have made the attempt, unlike the government who set the target but didn’t work out what it would cost or what mechanisms would be used to fund it (except in the first year)!!

The submission commends the small rise in the Sustainable and Active Travel budget line (which is used to fund several initiatives, notably Sustrans’s work with local authority and other partners such as British Waterways across Scotland).

It argues very very strongly for CWSS to be retained [unlike previous years, CWSS is not mentioned in the draft budget – see our initial budget article], and highlights the major damage which will result if CWSS is scrapped:  some councils would probably return to investing zero in cycling, whilst in Edinburgh the Cycling Action Plan targets would probably be missed [see initial budget article].

Thirdly, the submission calls for a new £30m annual cycling bidding fund, to allow enthusiastic councils, Regional Transport Partnerships, or other bodies such as Scotrail or British Waterways, to expand their cycle project work substantially.

The submission also calls for future budgets to be made more transparent by no longer mixing up investment in active travel with investment in making motor vehicles less carbon-intensive.  We suggest instead having a separate budget line covering all the main sources of cycling/walking investment.

Finally, the submission lists four questions we would like the TICC Committee to put to the Finance Secretary when they question him on 7 December [you can see this live online at www.holyrood.tv/committee.asp] – our suggested questions include several of the points above.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Make your own personal submission to the TICC CommitteeClosing date 10 December.  A brief note is fine, emphasising the points that particularly concern you, and why they matter to you – for example our 2 priority points at the start of this article – the future of CWSS and the total level of annual cycling investment.   For the email address and other details, see the TICC call for views.
  • Email all your MSPs [as soon as possible in the next few days or weeks] about your wishes for the budget – again the 2 above priority points are the most important in our view.  Explain why this is important to you.   Ask your MSPs to raise your points with the Finance Secretary and also within their own party group – there will be a great deal of inter-party negotiation over the next few weeks before the eventual vote on the budget in February.  Find your MSPs at www.writetothem.com.   Also – please send us any useful replies.

Finally – you can find our submission, and a link to the draft budget documents (in case you want the full gory details) on our downloads – submissions – national page.  Also on that page is a link to the excellent response to the budget by Transform Scotland [to which we are affiliated].    Whilst the Spokes response deals largely with cycling issues, the TS paper covers the entire range of transport issues relevant to the draft budget.

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