[20 December update: this quick-fire campaign succeeded!! See Dec 19 news item].
There’s a short window of opportunity to gain a modest one-off boost to Scottish cycling investment. Please send a quick email to your MSPs now…
The Scottish Government is to receive £331m for capital investment ‘shovel-ready’ projects as a result of the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement. The government will decide very soon – possibly even in the next few days – how to use this money.
Please email your MSPs right now! Ask them to contact Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP and Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP to urge that some of the funding goes to cycling investment, and to let you know how they get on. Find your MSPs at www.writetothem.com.
Spokes as an organisation has already emailed the Transport Minister [rtf 6k] but our email will carry far more weight if Ministers are also getting lobbied via local MSPs.
Don’t copy our letter – write in your own words. There’s no need to use any of the special terminology such as the ‘Barnett consequentials’ referred to in our letter.
Don’t send a long email. Use your own ideas, but if you want suggestions you might like to make a couple of brief points based on one or two of the following…
- Mention a local project that could be implemented rapidly and easily in your own area and would make a big difference to conditions for getting about by bike.
- The UK Chancellor announced £42m additional cycling investment in his autumn statement, so surely the Scottish Government will include cycling investment too with some of the £331m they are getting from the autumn statement.
- Sustrans has cycle projects across Scotland ‘ready to go’ as soon as funding becomes available.
- In a list of £800m worth of ideas for ‘shovel-ready’ projects a few weeks ago, the Scottish Government did include cycling investment [though only a mere £3.9m, 0.5% of the list cost, and with no details of projects] www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/11/shovelready25112012 The government now has £331m at its disposal, and investing £3.9m would only be just over 1% of that.
- The Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP has promised publicly more than once to ‘fight his corner’ to get money for cycling investment should this type of one-off funding opportunity arise.
Of course, one-off short-term funding like this is not the real answer. For any hope of the government reaching its 2020 cycle-use target we need substantial and ongoing funding. However, in the absence of that, one-off cash injections can make a big difference in the local areas which benefit from them.
WHAT IT COULD MEAN
Does all this sound too abstract? Is it really worth the effort of emailing your MSPs??
Well, the recent Scottish Budget statement announced something rather similar – a small one-off amount of new cycling investment to be used for projects which could be implemented in the current financial year (2012/13). Spokes immediately suggested to Edinburgh council that they apply for funding to widen and resurface North Meadow Walk. The council did so – and they succeeded!! The work should take place by Spring 2013.
If you emailed your MSPs a few months ago asking for more cycling investment, it may have felt very abstract at the time, but now take a bow – you have helped get North Meadow Walk rebuilt!!
Who knows which parts of Scotland will benefit if we succeed in getting this new one-off cash injection – it could be yours!