Layla Moran has said she is disappointed that the Government won’t commit to extra funding for cycling in Oxfordshire - after their own report recommended investment.
Layla submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to ask him to use his Budget on 29th October to announce funding to improve cycling infrastructure in Oxford and surrounding villages and market towns.
The recent report Running Out of Road: Cycling in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford by former London cycling czar Andrew Gilligan recommends millions of pounds of spending in Oxfordshire in order to create and radically improve integrated cycling infrastructure in the city and surrounding communities.
The report concludes that the investment is necessary to reduce congestion and improve health and wellbeing.
Responding for the Government to Ms Moran’s question, junior minister at the Treasury Robert Jenrick MP refused to say if money would be allocated in the Budget and said that decisions were for local councils to take using existing money.
Ms Moran’s calls came after the Government published a summary of over 14,000 responses to its public consultation on investing in cycling and walking safety.
Transport Ministers said that they would analyse the responses to the consultation and come forward with plans to invest in cycling and walking as “an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality and town and city planning.”
Layla, who last month called a special House of Commons debate on the Gilligan report, commented:
“Residents across Oxford, Abingdon and the county more widely are crying out for decent, well thought-through investment in properly integrated cycling and public transport facilities in our towns and city – but we are being ignored by the Government who are refusing to commit to any funding.
“When I called a special House of Commons debate on the Gilligan report last month the Transport Minister failed to spell out which of the report’s recommendations the Government would be adopting. Now the Treasury are refusing to say if they’ll fund any of the cycling improvements called for by a report that their own National Infrastructure Commission ordered.
“Asking Andrew Gilligan to come up with recommendations is all well and good but the Conservatives must now put their money where their mouth is if anyone is to take them seriously about their commitment to improving cycling in Oxfordshire.
“I won’t be letting this one lie until we get the funding we deserve.”
Layla Moran’s Parliamentary question is as follows:
Question: Layla Moran (Lib Dem, Oxford West and Abingdon):
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the National Infrastructure Commission's report entitled Running Out of Road: Investing in cycling in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford, published in July 2018, if he will allocate funding in the 2018 Budget to implement the recommendations in that report.
Answer: Robert Jenrick (Con, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury):
I am unable to share Budget funding decisions in advance.
The government has already announced transport projects in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc totalling over £4bn.
I note that many of the recommendations in the report are for local councils to take forward with integrated transport strategies.
Layla Moran’s Parliamentary Early Day Motion also calls on the Government to fund the recommendations of the Gilligan Report. The motion reads:
That this House recognises the benefits of cycling to the environment, reducing air pollution and traffic, and the benefits to people's physical and mental health and wellbeing; welcomes the report by Andrew Gillian, Running out of Road: Investing in Cycling in Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford, commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission; and calls on the Government to allocate funding in Budget 2018 to meet the spending recommendations of the Gilligan Report in order to radically improve cycling infrastructure in Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.