Sunday, 18 March 2012

British Waterways/CRT begging bowls to appear shortly

This week saw the EFRA select committee's opening session on the transfer of BW to CRT. I have spent an amusing couple of ours watching Parliament TV. No huge surprises but what do you expect from these witnesses? Three core proponents of the CRT transfer and a fourth who pointed out from the outset that the people he represents rely on BW for their living. Hardly a representative group of the wider waterways community!

For me the most amusing part was Tony Hales explaining to the committee BW/CRT's apparently well-advanced plan to appear on towpaths with begging bowls disguised (as clipboards) this summer. 

In answer to a question from the Committee, it seems that the exact start launch date for the CRT is very  important because the Queens Jubilee and and The Olympics might distract from BW's (oops my mistake!) CRT's launch. I agree with Tony - I think its jolly inconsiderate that people have arranged the Olympics and the Queens Jubilee to clash with  the CRT launch. Who do these people think they are?

Tony then went on to explain that BW/CRT had already plans afoot to have the chuggers* out on the towpaths trying to extract £5 per month subscriptions from the unsuspecting public! (Chuggers does not means vintage boat engines by the way: "Charity-muggers"; those nice people with the tee-shirts and the clipboards trying to phish your bank details.)

What you get for your £60 a year is not quite clear, but some of us are used to that so it will be fine. We pay BW £1000's  a year but we don't get told what we can expect for our money. Get used to it!

Anyway this should make for some amusing conversation on the towpath this summer, assuming there's any water to go anywhere by boat.

"Would you like to join the Friends of CRT and help raise money for the waterways?"


"Can I ask why not?"

"Yes, I used to own the waterways and so did you - now it's been privatised without proper funding. I already pay BW in excess of nearly £1000 a year to be here so, no I'm not very keen on paying another £60 a year for what?"

BW Chuggers beware - if you see this man coming your way don't bother!


  1. I don't know why you're so worried. They've already said they're not aiming at boaters but the millions of other people who use the towpaths but pay nothing for the privilege. If people want to give money to the canals then who are we to complain? If they don't they won't. Simple.

  2. The reason I'm worried is what happens if people don't give as BW/CRT hope? In that case how is the 'funding gap' going to be addressed?

    Hoping people will donate does not seem like a very sound financial basis on which to go forward.