Why there is no money for safer road infrastructure....

by stumps   February 17, 2014  

I decided to post this after reading some of the comments on the Chris Boardman feature thats currently running about helmets and safer roads being the answer.

I did a bit of digging and there was actually an article in the Daily Mail today about foreign aid and its cost. This is from the headline;

George Osborne is poised to approve a £1billion increase in foreign aid to meet the Government’s controversial spending target.
The Chancellor has cheered Tory backbenchers in recent years by repeatedly cutting the foreign aid budget to ensure it does not exceed David Cameron’s pledge to devote 0.7 per cent of Britain’s income to the issue.
But better than expected growth figures mean that when he makes his Autumn Statement on the economy on Thursday, Mr Osborne is facing the prospect of having to increase foreign aid in order to hit the spending threshold.
The money involved is expected to total around £1billion over the next five years, although the Chancellor is understood to have avoided the need to provide extra cash in this financial year.
The move will fuel criticism that the ‘arbitrary’ aid target is more about political posturing than saving lives.
In August it emerged that Nigeria, which will receive £1.14billion in foreign aid from Britain over the five years of the Coalition, is spending millions to put a man in space.
The oil-rich country is also mired in corruption. Estimates suggest between £2.5 and £5billion is stolen from the state’s coffers every year by corrupt officials and politicians.
Britain is also spending about £280million a year on aid to India, another country with its own space programme.
Mr Cameron’s pledge to hit the aid target was part of a pre-election strategy to ‘decontaminate’ the Tories’ uncaring image, but he has come under pressure to drop it in the wake of the financial crisis.
In March, Mr Osborne said the aid budget would hit £11.2billion this year – more than the Home Office budget.
Aid was cut in the Budget, when the growth forecast for this year was reduced from 1.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent.
Experts believe the forecast is likely to be upgraded to 1.4 per cent this week, requiring the Chancellor to at least reverse the March cuts, which amounted to £1billion over five years.
The Treasury declined to comment, but confirmed that the 0.7 per cent aid target will be met. The Department for International Development also declined to comment.

Now imagine what you could do to make Britains roads safer with just a small portion of that money..........

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https://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/uk-government-is-planning-for-a-fall-i...

i will come back and add a few more details later, but this is very telling

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posted by mrmo [1006 posts]
17th February 2014 - 21:46

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Oh it's much worse than that. They have failed to collect £22 billion in taxes owed (i.e. one fifth of the current deficit) and £6billion has been written off. Think what they could do with that.

posted by arfa [435 posts]
17th February 2014 - 21:58

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Don't worry, since his party donor's ponies started floating off down the Thames, Dave had a another look under the cushions of his austerity sofa and found a shitload of money that he had completely forgotten about. I'm pretty sure that once all the flood defending and pony drying have been sorted there will be lots left over for all sorts of splendid modern infrastructure type things like bicycle tracks, rooftop helipads and monorails.

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posted by joemmo [768 posts]
18th February 2014 - 0:54

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They should ask Vodafone for the billion plus in tax that they owe the country, but they won't as our country's leaders have no back bone. They are even too scared to put their own people first incase Brussels tells us off. The poor people of Somerset get to suffer whilst we throw money at Syria and any other third world dump that has corrupt governments.

The country as a whole is a joke and we are becoming a third world sh*t hole, still as long as Brussels and the third world are ok.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
18th February 2014 - 6:01

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"there was actually an article in the Daily Mail today about foreign aid and its cost"

Hardly a source of impartial information! I nearly didn't read any further, such is the dreadful reputation of that pile of shite.

Foreign aid is a red herring while tax dodging by massive, super-rich companies would be a real source of income if the political will was there.

The report linked by mrmo was also covered on road.cc:
http://road.cc/content/news/98607-campaigners-criticise-self-fulfilling-...

While cycling accounts for ~1.5% of journeys then it is likely to get just 1.5% of road spending, or possibly even less. Taking road space away from cars and giving it to lefties, greens and impoverished plebs on bicycles is not a vote-winner among the parts of the electorate this government cares about.

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posted by Simon E [1884 posts]
18th February 2014 - 11:37

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To be fair to Vodafone, they did get scalped on the spectrum auction (a form of windfall tax) which is why they have not been paying much tax since (as they can offset the expense).
Still, the bottom line is that if your tax system is too complex for the government of the day to collect it, it's way too complicated.

posted by arfa [435 posts]
18th February 2014 - 12:11

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The vast majority of this country's problems are very much first-world issues. Plus, the last time I checked we weren't being bombed or gassed by our own government so I don't think your third-world-like-Syria comparison really stands up.

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posted by joemmo [768 posts]
18th February 2014 - 12:17

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UK gross domestic product (GDP) is $2,417,600M the sixth highest in the world. Not bad for a country that is apparently becoming a third world s.hole. It is easy to be critical of giving aid to countries like India and Nigeria (10th, $1,875,213M and 37th, $262,545M GDP) but I would like to know what this money is spent on before I am too critical; I do not suppose it is food parcels and what do 'we' get in return, because I am sure it is not just green beans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
But the question stands; (in the voice of Al Murray 'The Pub Landlord' ) "WHERE'S THE F***ING MONEY?"

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
18th February 2014 - 12:27

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SideBurn wrote:
UK gross domestic product (GDP) is $2,417,600M the sixth highest in the world. Not bad for a country that is apparently becoming a third world s.hole. It is easy to be critical of giving aid to countries like India and Nigeria (10th, $1,875,213M and 37th, $262,545M GDP) but I would like to know what this money is spent on before I am too critical; I do not suppose it is food parcels and what do 'we' get in return, because I am sure it is not just green beans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
But the question stands; (in the voice of Al Murray 'The Pub Landlord' ) "WHERE'S THE F***ING MONEY?"

Couple of years out of date, but this is the answer.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2012/dec/04/public-...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [711 posts]
18th February 2014 - 13:36

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There's proposals to build a tunnel to replace the (life expired) Hammersmith flyover. The top end estimate for this scheme comes in at about £1.7 billion.

For 2.5 miles of road, to relieve a local conjestion issue.

All this talk of foreign aid budgets, corporate taxes etc is a red herring. This country can well afford, even with all that, to allocate vastly more to safer cycling than it does at the moment. We could cheerfully go to £50/head/year- if the government wanted to. It doesn't. It doesn't want to spend money on this.

posted by Al__S [480 posts]
18th February 2014 - 13:53

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SideBurn wrote:
UK gross domestic product (GDP) is $2,417,600M the sixth highest in the world. Not bad for a country that is apparently becoming a third world s.hole. It is easy to be critical of giving aid to countries like India and Nigeria (10th, $1,875,213M and 37th, $262,545M GDP) but I would like to know what this money is spent on before I am too critical; I do not suppose it is food parcels and what do 'we' get in return, because I am sure it is not just green beans. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
But the question stands; (in the voice of Al Murray 'The Pub Landlord' ) "WHERE'S THE F***ING MONEY?"

You mention India, guess who are running their own space program and also producing plenty of their own wealth? yet here we are giving them money that could be better spent over here.

I don't care about other countries and their problems when we have enough of our own. We have people who have paid their dues, they have become homeless and many have lost their businesses. They get sand bags nearly two months too late, sandbags are an insult at the best of times but to not even get them for weeks on end is a disgrace.

The government have ignored flooding for too long and have not invested in flood defences to protect those who pay into our country's coffers, the very ones they use to bail out every other country. Instead they try to blame insurance companies for not paying out.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
18th February 2014 - 20:35

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Shep73 wrote:
The government have ignored flooding for too long and have not invested in flood defences to protect those who pay into our country's coffers, the very ones they use to bail out every other country. Instead they try to blame insurance companies for not paying out.

The government are only doing what they said they'd do (and what the Tory party has invariably done in the past). Why are people surprised?

As I said earlier, the Hate Mail is just finding a reason to blame anyone other than this government for the decisions it has made. Foreigners, immigrants... it's just a variation on the same old theme, and it looks like you've fallen for it.

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posted by Simon E [1884 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:51

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Shep73 wrote:
I don't care about other countries and their problems when we have enough of our own.
Before they spin you into saying you don't care about anyone but yourself, consider that maybe it's not "either / or".

We are a rich country with resources aplenty to help our needy if we choose to spend them on that rather than tax cuts for bankers and billionaires. And we're rich enough to do our bit for some of the poorest people in the world, especially in places we used to run, whose problems stem from us, as the colonial power, getting rich at their expense.

The aid isn't given to countries, it's given to regions, to people, to organisations. Half of it is spent in the UK even though it counts as overseas aid - funding UK unis foreign student programmes and race relations programmes. That cash is paying UK teachers in the UK.

And re the moon - people who need our help are not any less needy just because they have an uncaring government. The idiot things the government invests in are not an excuse for us. Do our own poorest deserve thrown away to the wolves because our government paid for that whole Olympics party?

There's apparently enough cash for our fattest cats to be buying more Ferraris than ever before, and more than anywhere else in the world (says the news today), and yet we're claiming that our generation is suddenly just too poor to consider helping the world's most desperate people. Somewhere in there, there's an "either / or" choice we might all be able to agree on. Party

posted by vbvb [212 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:58

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This is what I am talking about; the UK provides aid. The aid is invested. The country prospers and so they want 'necessities' like 126 fighter planes....

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/UK-keen-to-offer-Eurofighter-to...

Who do they come to?
The UK; at £65M each + on-going maintenance.... ker-ching! (hopefully)

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
18th February 2014 - 22:05

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Let's face it, many years ago, countries' public finances were not as scrutinised as much as they are these days. No doubt in the past certain "expenditures" could possibly have been required in decades passed.
As an aside, if you Google "al yamamah" you will find all sorts of views on a major UK government contract that provided all sorts of jobs. The idea that there weren't conflicting ethics/ideologies is laughable. I'll leave it at that.

posted by arfa [435 posts]
18th February 2014 - 22:15

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Re: Nigeria - Nigeria has oil and gas, the UK has companies with expertise in the extraction of oil and gas. Join those dots.

Less cynically you could also argue that by improving the conditions of a developing country then the inhabitants of said country are less likely to want to come to your country as a drain on resources. Or if they do want to come to your country then having had access to better education and health care they might do as a skilled, healthy worker and bring a net economic benefit.

Spin goes both ways.

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posted by joemmo [768 posts]
18th February 2014 - 22:37

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there is plenty of money around to spend on safe roads
from www.constructionenquirer.com

"Schemes to start in 2013/14
M3 J2 to 4a, Surrey – cost £159m-£223m
M6 J10a to 13, West Midlands – cost £140m-£201m
M1 J28 to 31, Derbyshire – £177m-£250m
A160/A180 Immingham dualling – cost £89m-£132m (Start summer 2015)

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am determined to cut the time it takes to upgrade our roads in half by dismantling procedures that have slowed us down.......

....The Department for Transport and the Highways Agency has looked hard at how to speed up the decision making process and the time it takes to have roads ready for use by motorists."

lots of very safe roads there - look at the stats - political will not money is the problem

posted by antigee [143 posts]
19th February 2014 - 1:30

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