British Waterways grant from Defra next year will be reduced to £41.5m. This is a reduction of £9.8m (or 19%) from the 2010/11 grant of £51.3m. Government funding is approximately half of the spending on the waterways so BW's available funds will be reduced by about 12% in 2011/12.
This is the last annual grant to British Waterways in England and Wales. A longer term contract is expected to be in place in April 2012 when BW's canals, rivers and docks are expected to be transferred into a new charity.
Defra also announced that funding from 2012/13 to 2014/15 will be £39m a year and that funding will not fall below that level before 2022/23.
BW Chairman, Tony Hales
British Waterways’ chairman, Tony Hales, said, “In the current climate it would be unrealistic to expect British Waterways to be exempt from cuts in public spending and we will have to make difficult decisions to ensure the continued maintenance of the historic canals and rivers in our care.
"The Government’s commitment to the first ever long-term public funding settlement for the waterways is, however, a good step forward and I have been heartened by ministers' continued commitment to this ‘Big Society’ flagship." He concluded, "The challenge now is to develop a funding plan which gives confidence to the incoming trustees of the new charity and retains the support of waterway stakeholders."