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Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 10 December 2015

As a keen cyclist myself, I am delighted that the Government continue to encourage more cycling and walking across England. We did good work under the last Conservative Government: spending per head rose from £2 in 2010 to £6 now and more than £10 in the cycling ambition cities. On the long-term vision, we have made it clear that we want to make the UK a cycling nation. One step will be to publish a cycling and walking investment strategy next summer. The recent spending review committed more than £300 million to support cycling.

The comprehensive spending review contained little new money: just £1.49 per head over the Parliament. My predecessors in the all-party cycling group recommended £10 per head per year, which the Prime Minister agreed with. How can we deliver an effective cycling and walking strategy with only £1.49 per head?

I commend the hon. Lady and my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) for their co-chairmanship of the all-party group. She is right to focus on the need to invest, but in our view, and hers I think, the investment should be targeted, which is why the cycling ambition cities get more than £10 per head. Her analysis does not include our commitment that every mile of new road built by Highways England must be cycle-proof or the additional money for local growth funds so that cities and towns that want to encourage cycling have the freedom to do so.

It is now clear that cycling took a big hit in the spending review and that there will be little left for the cycling and walking investment strategy when it finally appears. The Minister has had the air let out of her tyres. Will she confirm that the figure of £1.49 is the real figure for cycling outside London and that spending on cycling has effectively been halved?

The hon. Gentleman represents a cycling city that I am proud to visit, but I have yet to see him on his bike pedalling past our front door when I am up there—but I am sure I will soon. I completely refute his assertion, however: we have made incredible progress on cycling. He need only drive in to see the chaos created by the Mayor’s east-west cycle highway being delivered in the city with the highest level of cycle spending historically. That is the cycling ambition target now being reached in eight other cities. I want to reconfirm that we have ensured that every mile of new road built will be cycle-proof, which is something Labour neglected to do.