Home Business News Government to cut over £300 million in funding which’ puts the very future of canals at grave risk’

Government to cut over £300 million in funding which’ puts the very future of canals at grave risk’

by LLB Finance Reporter
10th Jul 23 3:03 pm

The Canal and River Trust has warned that due to a government funding cut of more than £300 million in real terms this will lead to canal closures.

The charity said that they are to lose almost half of their funding after 2027 which will have a “potentially devastating impact” on their ability to maintain a 2,000-mile network of waterways.

The Canal and River Trust said that the government’s decision means that there will be “deep cuts” to repairs and maintenance that will inevitably lead to closures.

On Monday the Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said that between 20227 and 2037 the Trust will receive only £400 million of funding and between now and 2027 they will receive a “£190 million package.

Canals supports 80,000 jobs that contributes around £1.5 billion to the economy, independent research finds.

Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust’s chief executive, said, “The Government review has confirmed the value and importance of the nation’s canals and their vital role in our health and wellbeing, for wildlife and nature, and in supporting jobs and the UK economy.

“Yet, at the same time, they have announced a funding decision which puts the very future of canals at grave risk.

“By sharply reducing their investment in the critical work to care for and safely manage this vulnerable national canal infrastructure, the Government is failing to recognise the full cost of sustaining the vital benefits they provide.

“We have ambitious plans for continued growth in income from donations, investments and other funding streams and are also growing volunteer numbers to help with our work.

“However, even taking these into account, the decision by Government leaves a substantial funding shortfall which puts decades of restoration and recovery of these much-loved historic waterways at risk.”

Parry added, “Our industrial canal heritage is as vital today as it was in the past, and will continue to be in the future, by bringing the benefits of green space and nature corridors into urban areas, as well as contributing to flood defences and transferring water to areas of shortage.

“It is a critical part of our national infrastructure, and its decline would impact communities across the country.”

A Defra spokesperson said, “Since it was first created in 2012, we have been very clear that the Trust would have to increasingly move towards alternative sources of funding.

“To date, we have awarded them £550 million funding and are supporting the Trust with a further £590 million between now and 2037 – a significant sum of money and a sign of the importance that we place on our canals.

“We have been discussing this with the charity for some time and have been offering support on how it can increase income from other sources, as per the original objective of the grant funding.”

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