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Prime Minister’s confusion over cycling funding reflects Downing Street “chaos” says MP

Number 10 says Boris Johnson got figures wrong in “car crash” House of Commons announcement

An MP who co-chair’s the All Party Parliamentary Cycling and Walking Group (APCWG) says that Boris Johnson’s confusion over cycling funding for England outside London reflects the “chaos” inside Number 10 Downing Street.

In a question put to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Ruth Cadbury, the Labour MP for Brentford & Isleworth, asked him how much of the £5 billion he had pledged for buses and cycling would specifically go on the latter.

> Updated: “A complete joke” – MP savages Boris Johnson’s cycling plans as he confirms no investment beyond £350 million manifesto pledge

“In the first stage, £350 million,” he replied.

Perhaps he chose that figure because that was the amount set aside under the Conservative manifesto for December’s general election, or perhaps the number jumped into his head because he had spent much of the previous hour talking about buses.

Whichever it was, however, the figure was incorrect, reports the Guardian’s Helen Pidd, citing two Downing Street sources, one of whom described it as “a car crash of an announcement,” adding, “we are pretty sure Boris made a mistake when answering that question and in fact it’s about £1bn for cycling now.”

> Government admits it needs to double cycling funding

It was also suggested that the £1 billion would be on top of the £350 million manifesto pledge, but spread over five years that still only equates to around £5 per person per year.

However much it is, Cadbury is seeking proof of the figure and intends to table a written question on the issue saying, “Until I see it in black and white I won’t believe it. All this confusion is symptomatic of the chaos No 10 operates in.”

Organisations including Cycling UK, British Cycling and Sustrans that belong to the Cycling & Walking Alliance have called for £17 per person per year to be spent on cycling immediately, rising to £34 by 2023.

> Alarm at prospect of cycle funding cuts under new government – Conservative manifesto pledges less than a quarter of current funding

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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