Canal News – IWA Press Release re. Funding Deal

IWA Welcomes Government Funding Deal for New Canal and River Charity

IWA Press Release

ISSUE DATE: 31st January 2012

IWA WELCOMES GOVERNMENT FUNDING DEAL FOR NEW CANAL AND RIVER CHARITY

The Inland Waterways Association today welcomed the announcement by DEFRA that it had reached a negotiated settlement with the transition trustees of the Canal & River Trust over the amount of Government funding that it will receive when it takes over responsibility for the management of the waterways currently run by British Waterways in England and Wales.

Commenting on the settlement Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman said:

‘We welcome the CRT transition trustees’ announcement that they are now in a position to launch a sustainable charity to run the waterways. This is a big step towards realising a vision held by IWA for over 60 years to have a single independent charity running the waterways for the benefit of all.

The settlement looks considerably better in general terms, and is substantially more than was first put on the table. We are particularly pleased to see that many of the issues that IWA raised and lobbied for through our supporters and Members of Parliament have been addressed and that the original settlement has been substantially increased from £390million over ten years to potentially, £800m over the full 15 years if you add indexation. There is also the full property portfolio of commercial premises and land worth an additional £460m.

Wolverhampton Top Lock

The issues that IWA lobbied for and that have been addressed are:

Increased funding- Starting in 2015/16 there is an extra £10 million per year conditional grant, (capped in the last 5 years); and a further one off repayment of national loans of £6.2 million payable immediately.

Indexation to protect the funding from inflation- There is now indexation on the core grant.

A longer contract term- This has been increased by a third, giving financial certainty for 15 years.

Additional resources to address the past service pension liabilities- This has been addressed in part with a government guarantee of last resort for 19 years and a one-off payment of an additional £25 million grant for this year.

He went on to say:

‘I would like to thank all of our supporters for all of the time and care they took in contacting and briefing their MPs so that they could lobby government during the negotiations and I believe this played an important part in the improved settlement. We have seen the initial funding offer move from £39 million to potentially over £70 million this year. I hope that they will join me in supporting the CRT by providing volunteer support and assistance at local and national level. This will be especially important in the critical first three years before much of the additional funding kicks in’.

‘The next stage for IWA is to identify and help to resolve any issues that go beyond early teething problems and to ensure that these are fed into the Government’s second year review. IWA will also wish to see Defra provide a detailed programme for the transfer of Environment Agency navigations into the CRT as promised in 2015/2016, so that this process is little more than a formality for the CRT trustees.’Wolverhampton Railway Arches – Derek Pratt

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