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Cycling likely to suffer in government spending review

Major roads and rail are likely to be given priority

The Times reports that cycling is likely to lose out to road building and rail upgrade projects when five-year budgets for government departments are set out next month. A source close to the spending review told the newspaper that cycling was “off the agenda” with government departments seeking £20 billion of savings by 2020.

The government has pledged to create a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which should entail a five-year funding and investment plan, including a legal commitment to report on the achievement of specific aims. However, it seems unlikely that budgets will exceed those previously set.

There were already concerns over an approaching cliff edge for cycle funding when Local Sustainable Transport Funding runs out in April with CTC’s Sam Jones suggesting it could take more than 18 months for the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to be drawn up. That would leave the eight cities receiving Cycle City Ambition funding, plus London, as the only places with cycling investment.

The situation is compounded by the fact that ministers are under pressure to protect a £15.2bn programme to upgrade a hundred A-roads and motorways as well as Network Rail’s £38.5bn upgrade plan. Cycling is therefore likely to feel the squeeze, with minor council-managed roads and grants for bus services also likely to be affected.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The government wants to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. We want to create a cycling nation. We will be setting out the timescales and wider aims for the cycling and walking investment strategy shortly.”

New budgets are to be announced on November 25.

Last week the chairman of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) claimed that the ‘integrity of UK sport is at risk’ after being warned to expect a huge budget cut. David Kenworthy is braced for his organisation to receive a 25 per cent reduction in budget which he says would leave it ‘almost dead in the water’.

A government spokesperson said that decisions on future funding would be made at the November 25 spending review, but that it had been made clear that all parts of the public sector would be required to find savings through efficiencies and reforming the way things are done in a bid to ‘deliver more with less’.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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