The Telegraph today got hold of a leaked document detailing the quangos the government plan to scrap under their brutal “spending review”, which has felt more akin to a knife in the gut than a budgeting exercise. Amongst those for the chop are Cycling England and the Disabled Person’s Advisory Committee proving yet against that the Tories and Lib Dems don’t care about your transport needs. Cycling England work hard to deliver, using a very limited budget to get thousands of children and adults cycling. This pie chart shows how negligible the spend on Cycling England is in comparison to the total transport spend:
Even the Department of Transport’s own figures show a benefit to cost ratio of 3:1(links to PDF) Cycling England do excellent work, with a high profile for a team of only three full time member sof staff, getting school kids cycling by identifying safe cycle routes, helping to build cycle racks, and coordinating the national institution that is the Cycling Proficiency Scheme. If we’re to combat childhood obesity, doing things like cutting Cycling England and cutting free swimming are the stupidest things imaginable: they lower the likelihood that exercise becomes part of peoples routines at an early age, and have such high returns for such low costs that they make no difference to the spending of the public sector. Until, that is, 30 years down the line, heart disease and stroke rates implode. Just yesterday, ministers reported that school sports were growing, but not fast enough and that interest in cycling was surging. And now they are cutting an organisation that fosters exactly that.
The loss of the Disabled Person’s Advisory Committee is indicative of the lack of consideration towards disabled people and their transport needs that has become endemic. Recently, as reported here by Adam Bienkov, the Tory London Assembly Members walked out of a debate on staffing at TfL ticket offices whilst members of disability rights group Transport for All campaigned outside. It’s tough enough to get around cities and rural areas with a disability, without having local and national government decide they’d rather save a few pennies than ask you what you need, or how you’d like to get around the streets and community you call your home. But when a government reduce society to pennies, pounds and economic terms instead of people, families and community bonds, that’s what we get.
So in summary, this government don’t care about public transport. They don’t care about eco-friendly transport. They don’t care about transport that benefits people. They don’t care about transport that benefits the marginalised. They don’t care about transport that works for the poor. They don’t care about the type of transport that most people in cities use. They hate bus passes, they hate bikes, they love cars. I hate this government.