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06/01/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

Scottish cyclists urged to protest against budget cuts


Scotland Active Travel Cuts Spokes

Edinburgh’s cycle advocacy group Spokes is urging anyone who cares about cycling and walking in Scotland to attend an up-coming protest in Edinburgh on January 11 against cuts to the active travel budget in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming budget.

Severe cuts

Spokes said that the proposals contained in the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2012-13 (that was announced in September) would severely deplete funds for cycling and walking in the coming years. The cycling group believes that only some 67 pence of every £100 transport spending is likely to go to active travel in 2012/13.

Spokes has managed to gather this information through member requests to Scottish MSPs as investment in walking/cycling in the budget is not specified separately.

“Instead of the 20% cut to active travel which we had predicted, the draft budget looks likely to mean a 32% cut in 2012/13 (following an 18% cut this year).   Thus walk/cycle investment in 2012/13 will be little more than half its level in 2010/11,” Spokes said.

Official Scottish Government figures say the cut in the Sustainable and Active Travel budget will be down from £25.1m in 2011-12 to £16m in 2012-13.

The cuts come despite a commitment from the SNP in their 2011 Holyrood manifesto to “increase the proportion of transport spending on … active and sustainable travel”.

Protest details

Spokes has helped organise a protest against the cuts at 1pm on Wednesday January 11 at St Andrews House, Regent Road, Edinburgh. These are the offices of First Minister Alex Salmond MSP and Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP.  John Swinney has been invited to come outside and receive a letter about active travel funding.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Transform Scotland, FOE and WWF are backing the protest, where it is expected that over 200 people will attend.

If you want to attend or show your support, then Spokes is urging cyclists and walkers to sign up on Facebook or come along to the event. For more information about the protest also click here.

Salmond told to get on his bike

Given the cuts to the active travel budget, we’re not sure if Alex Salmond will venture out to meet the protesters despite being recently challenged to get on his bike to raise the profile of cycling in Scotland.

Labour Central Scotland MSP Mark Griffin made the offer of a ride around Edinburgh to Mr Salmond earlier this week in the hope that it will encourage people to cycle to work. Cycle take-up is unlikely to rise if budgets to promote cycling and cycling infrastructure are slashed, Mr Salmond!

Image used courtesy of Spokes

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