November 2011

Budget 2012-13 : SNP arguments

Spokes has prepared answers to SNP justifications of the government’s big cuts to cycling and walking investment in the draft 2012-13 budget, now being consulted on…

Spokes is delighted that Edinburgh SNP MSPs Marco Biagi and Jim Eadie are engaging in the arguments over the draft budget – thanks to the many emails and letters they are receiving from concerned individual constituents.  Both MSPs have asked to meet Spokes, and Jim Eadie has also obtained an offer of a meeting from Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP.

We believe, however that the arguments from these and other SNP MSPs, attempting to justify the draft budget, are weak.  And indeed, Jim Eadie has himself written to Finance Secretary John Swinney seeking a more realistic deal for active travel.

In new Spokesworker 28.11.11 [pdf 159k] we have drawn up answers to the points raised by SNP MSPs, points such as…

  • The SNP manifesto promises only to raise active and sustainable travel  not  active travel
  • Lobbyists have not taken account of the  Future Transport Fund
  • Councils should put more of their own money into active travel rather than relying on government funding
  • Funds such as the Climate Challenge Fund provide money for walking and cycling
  • Those wanting more money for active travel should say what should be cut to pay for it
  • The SNP manifesto promise covers the whole period to the next election, so cuts in 2012-13 can be compensated for in later years
  • Money is needed for big infrastructure projects so as to create employment at this difficult economic time
  • The planned new Forth Road Bridge is a special item, so should not be included in the trunk roads budget

Also in Spokesworker 28.11.11 [pdf 159k]

  • In the Scottish Parliament Nov 24th Climate debate  MSPs from North East Scotland, Southern Scotland, Glasgow, Dumfries and Lothians all condemned the cuts to active travel in the draft budget
  • Individuals from all over Scotland have been contacting MSPs, including from Perth, Glasgow, Stirling, Highlands, Dumfries, …
  • News of the unequal treatment of active travel by the Scottish Government in the draft budget is now spreading beyond Scotland including in Denmark, Holland, London, …
  • The treatment of active travel in the draft budget has been condemned by a wide range of Scottish organisations, including Scottish Environment Link*, representing 36 Scottish organisations with a combined membership of 500,000.

*Deborah Long, chair of Link, has just said in the Sunday Herald [27 November]

Scotland’s track record on this issue (active travel funding) is embarrassing to the point of recklessness … We cannot go on, year after year, spending around a meagre one per cent of the transport budget on walking and cycling infrastructure without profound consequences for the health and well-being of society. ”

We urge concerned readers: if you have not yet contacted your MSP, or if you are dissatisfied with their reply, write to them at – and/or visit their surgery.  The budget process continues into and through December, so MSPs still need to hear from you!

For more on the draft budget…

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