October 2011

Draft Scottish Budget – Spokes submission

Spokes has published its formal submission on the draft Scottish budget. The budget, which is now up for consultation, is every bit as bad for active travel as we feared in our initial impressions.

[Oct 20 note – this article has been edited to include the final version of our paper, submitted to Parliament on 17 October]

The Spokes submission [pdf 184k] on the draft budget has been sent to the two relevant Scottish Parliament Committees (ICI – Infrastructure and Capital Investment;  and RACCE – Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment).    The Spokes submission…

  • Shows that cycling and active travel investment is likely to be cut by the budget from the equivalent of a mere 0.97% of total transport spending in 2011-12 down to just 0.74%.  This directly contradicts the SNP manifesto promise to “increase the proportion of transport spending on … active and sustainable travel.”
  • Points out that, at the same time, the total transport budget is rising, with motorway and trunk road spending up a massive 17%.  Under the draft budget total active travel investment will be less than one-fifth of the increase in trunk road spending.
  • Shows that the government’s own cycle use target that 10% of all trips are by bike in 2020 can not be met with current funding levels, let alone the severe cuts proposed in the draft budget.  [The target was first set in CAPS, the government’s Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, and later enshrined as a milestone in the RPP document approved by Parliament to meet Scotland’s statutory climate change targets – see our submission for references to these documents].
  • Points out that Sustrans funding seems set to be hit severely which will impact heavily on many local authority plans – including Edinburgh’s Active Travel Action Plan.
  • Points out that 2010-11 saw a revival in cycling investment, and councils are increasingly geared up to cycle project skills and to using Sustrans and CWSS funds to raise further money by finding project partners who will provide match-funding.  This growing network of cycling and financial skills and experience now risks being devastated.
  • Calls for a restructuring of transport spending (without increasing the total transport budget) to include at least £50m pa cycle project investment – the very minimum needed to give at least a slight chance of meeting the government’s 2020 target.
  • If this is refused, calls for Ministers to stop parroting an unjustified target, and to at the very least stick to their manifesto promise to raise active travel investment as a proportion of total transport spending.

An early version of the Spokes submission was informally noted to all MSPs on the ICI and RACCE Committees in early October – the final version [as above] has now been formally submitted.

We urge readers who are concerned about safer and more welcoming conditions for getting about by bike to contact MSPs, to call for the proposed cuts in cycling and active travel investment to be reversed.

Please contact your MSPs from all parties, but  in particular please embarrass SNP MSPs over their manifesto commitment (above).

Find your MSPs at www.writetothem.com.

Send us any useful replies.

Note: the calculations in our above submission supercede those in our immediate post-budget website posting, as a little more information has now come to light.  Further changes are possible as more information comes to hand.

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