British Waterways Transfer

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16 Jan 2012

With the Government planning to transfer British Waterways to the charitable sector, I am concerned that cuts to the Defra budget by 30% may not offer the organisation a sustainable future.

The two greatest threats to a sustainable future for the new charity are British Waterways’ pension deficit and the capital expenditure required to ensure that our waterways are navigable in the future. 

British Waterways currently has an annual funding deficit of £20 million and a pension deficit of £5 million per annum. Negotiations on the scale of the deficit and whether it will be inherited by the new charity, the Canal & Rivers Trust (CRT), will be crucial.  

The CRT will receive the British Waterways property portfolio and a long term funding package from the Government proposed at £39 million per annum for 10 years. However the funding contract is not expected to be indexed in line with inflation, resulting in a diminishing sum in real terms over the 10 year period.