Gordon’s watery sell-off

You have seen or heard the recent media speculation that the Government intends to include the British Waterways’ property portfolio as a component of the £16bn asset sale. The Government has made no announcements and is steadfastly refusing to be drawn on the subject.

However, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has good reason to believe that Government is seriously considering taking British Waterways’ assets and selling them in a Treasury ‘fire sale’ to raise cash – a decision will be taken in the next few days.

Selling off its assets would mean that British Waterways would be £85 million short of the £120 million it needs to run the canals and waterways of this country.

That will mean inevitable decay and disrepair and will undoubtedly lead to closure as the organisation contracts to preserve a core network – this impact may include the locks and tow path on a canal or river near to you. More than half the population of this country lives within five miles of an inland waterway.

IWA has been using this period of silence from Government as a window of opportunity to lobby Ministers. We have been orchestrating a political lobby in both the Commons and latterly the Lords to pressurise Government, and have briefed radio and national TV, using an array of reasons to support the argument that a sale would be in no-one’s interest.

We stand the best chance of preventing this sale if the Government can be persuaded not to do so, during this period of Ministerial silence. Whilst no announcements have been made, it is easier for Government to back away as it involves no public reversal of policy.

However, an e-petition has appeared on the 10 Downing Street website.

This sale will affect all of us, so I am therefore urging you to sign up to this petition, and ask that you encourage everyone that you know, to also sign up.

Waterways are for all

The waterways are a national treasure. A thriving 4,000 mile linear national park; a nature reserve accessible to all that is an amenity and part of the local scenery for property owners who gain a premium for having properties overlooking our canals and rivers. They can be walked and cycled along for leisure by millions – it belongs to everyone – we need all of the UK to know about this and to respond on line.

The future of the waterways could depend on your actions today – Please act in any way that you are able, to give support, and pass this message on.

Jo Gilbertson is the campaigns officer for the Inland Waterways Association. He has worked with various waterways agencies and user groups on waterway policy and funding issues, and is contributing editor to Waterways magazine and IWA Bulletin.

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 15th Oct - 10:11am
    Is this different from a national carbon tax with rebates scheme, like, for example, the one in Canada?
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 15th Oct - 9:56am
    Throroughly agree Caron. She was a bright and modern presence during all the ceremonial guff (tucked menacingly behind the PM in all the TV shots...
  • User AvatarAndy Hyde 15th Oct - 9:18am
    As someone who worked in a nationalised and the privatised utility, CEGB-NG, I can say despite much misgivings at the time, I was glad we...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 15th Oct - 9:07am
    @ Frankie, Please go away and annoy someone else. I have answered your question many times.
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 15th Oct - 8:57am
    @ expats, He has been on 'a journey'. @ Richard Easter, I really think that the Liberal Democrat party needs to stop pretending to have...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Oct - 8:42am
    As to nationalising at least you would be gaining an assets, if you could actually get the assets to make a profit over the long...