All MSPs have been sent a briefing on our ‘politically realistic’ proposal for the 16/17 budget – which is to be finalised on Wednesday. The plan has gathered support from more MSPs [including a promise from Malcolm Chisholm MSP to raise it in the budget debate], together with Professor of Physical Activity for Health Chris Oliver, author and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, and the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Cycling Group.
With the budget almost finalised, and with an overall Scottish Government majority in the Parliament, any hopes of a real ‘step change’ in funding for cycling and walking has to wait for party manifestos for the Holyrood Election.
Spokes therefore proposed a ‘politically realistic’ option for the 16/17 budget, which is to be finalised on Wednesday 24 Feb. Namely to transfer a mere 1% of the £820m trunk roads budget to cycling and walking. This would be sufficient to maintain and enhance the fragile momentum of cycle schemes, planning and expertise which has started to build up in many Scottish Councils; and which is otherwise under threat.
In response to emails from constituents, various MSPs have commented, with some giving very supportive replies. Malcolm Chisholm MSP has promised to raise this in the budget debate if he is called to speak.
Friends of the Earth Scotland have taken the plan on board, set up an e-action [with around 300 people emailing the Finance Secretary] and organised the briefing document to all MSPs and press release – also supported by Transform Scotland, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Pedal on Parliament and Ramblers Scotland.
In the press release…
Professor Chris Oliver, Honorary Professor of Physical Activity for Health at
the University of Edinburgh said, “Transferring more money into active travel will not only benefit cycling and walking levels but will have a considerable amplified effect on long term Scottish health as well”.
Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster and journalist, said, “It’s not too late to make a big dent in Scotland’s bad habits with a relatively small amount of public cash. We know the sedentary lifestyle of many Scots is a killer, here’s a way to do something about it.”
Dave du Feu, for Spokes, said, “If Councils are expected to find cuts of 7% to non-care services (including filling potholes) surely the government can find 1% from its own trunk roads budget to ensure that its policies on walking and cycling do not suffer.”
Emilia Hanna, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland said,
“The Government has got its spending plans all wrong by pouring millions into
roads which will create more traffic congestion, more air pollution, and more
climate emissions. If it transfers just 1% of the cash it plans to spend on polluting roads into active travel, this will support councils to get lots more
people walking and cycling across Scotland.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Immediately – if you support our proposal, let your MSPs know before Wednesday’s debate and vote.
After Wednesday – with Holyrood elections in May, ask your candidates if they will support the call for 10% of future transport budgets to be allocated to walking and cycling – if Edinburgh Council can do it, so can the Scottish Government! Find out more from the WalkCycleVote campaign – and more soon on the Spokes website.
SCOTTISH BUDGET 16/17