It’s UK budget day and once again the chancellor has set out the UK’s plans for spending over the next few years. Of course, being in a devolved Scotland means that some of the measures have little or no impact on us north of the border. However, there is one very important consequence of the announcement by the chancellor of increased spending on infrastructure. Whilst the chancellor does not have the power to determine infrastructure (capital) spending in Scotland, due to the Barnett formula, any spending by the UK government means that Scotland gets a share of that money. This share of the cash is known as the Barnett Consequentials.
It turns out that Scotland will receive a significant sum over the next two years, totalling £176m, with £55m in 2013-14, and £121m in 2014-15.
This is not the first time within the last year that Barnett Consequentials have come the way of Scotland. In fact the last Consequentials resulted in a further £6m being spent on cycling in Scotland. Obviously we welcome any increase in funding for cycling, however, this fell well short of the levels of funding that would enable the government to reach its 2020 TARGET of a 10% modal share of cycling. Significantly more is needed and as SPOKES have demonstrated, is needed now.
So here is an opportunity for the Scottish government to prove to us that we are indeed ‘pushing against and open door’ as Alex Salmond has suggested. It is time to invest in a mode of transport that not only will help us reach our climate policy targets, but will also significantly improve our nation’s health, will reduce congestion and will help drive forward the Scottish economy.
We could throw money into building more motorways between our cities, although £176m wouldn’t buy much motorway, or we could start transforming Scotland into a healthier, cleaner, more modern economy by INVESTING in active travel.
But how do we convince the politicians? We need you to write to John Swinney and we need you to do it now. Time is very short. Tell him that the time to invest in active travel is now. Tell him why, and tell him what you think the benefits for Scotland will be.
Today could be the day when we start building a cycle friendly nation.
Update: it turns out that the total could be more – £279 million - thanks to Spokes for the info.