Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Government Spending Review and British Waterways

I see trouble ahead - and it ain't moonligh and music

The long awaited Government spending review is upon us and it looks like we are all in for some tough times, paticularly public sector employees. Not that I am shedding any tears as my personal experience of Government, particularly that of the local variety, is one of astonishing incompetence and waste.

But what does this mean for British Waterways? Love them or loath them, they are the body responsible for keeping our lovely playground ticking over, so what's bad for them is also probably bad for us.

Well, BW falls within the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and they have been savaged, mullered or generally duffed up I am afraid.

DEFRA's budget has been cut by 29% by 2014/15 - reducing from £2.9bn to 2.2bn.

Sure DEFRA do a lot more than British Waterways but we can reasonably expect BW to be in the firing line for some serious pain. Back office savings  won't do the trick so expect less of those friendly boys and girls in their blue sweatshirts and less help in remote locations.

The good news (or at least I think it is good news) is that the Review  also confirms DEFRA's plans to move BW into a new Waterways Charity. I know that this comes with uncertainty but its got to be a good thing in the long run.

I would love to be part of the planning process for the new Waterways Conservancy. There are so many ways to make more of our unique resource, and a lot of those would raise serious dosh.

If you want to see the details for yourself here is the link. You will be looking for page 60.

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