Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Is the Canal and Rivers Trust going to mortgage the waterways?

My recent post alluding to the point of view that in fact the waterways are about to be privatised was somewhat tongue in cheek. However like most jokes, there is an element of worrying truth in there somewhere.

One of the key points that is being touted in favour of the proposed transition of British Waterways to the Canals and River Trust is that the new body will have more scope to raise funds. However everyone seems to be conveniently overlooking a potentially very sinister change in BW's powers that hides behind that proposed liberalisation of BW's financial powers. In Hansard's written replies last week Richard Benyon, the Waterways Minister, said

22 Nov 2011 : Column 304W
The transfer of British Waterways to the charitable sector creates new opportunities for growing income from private and commercial sources, making efficiencies and forming supportive partnerships. The charity will also be able to borrow against its assets and so expand income in the longer term.


Given the current managments' mixed record on making successful investments, do we really trust these people with the power to mortgage the waterways in order to make more speculative investments?

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