In the budget it was announced that transport funding is likely to be cut by more than 25% by 2014, causing concern for the future of life-saving road safety measures.
Brake believes that cut backs could contribute to a rise in casualties and consequential costs to the emergency services, making such cut backs a false economy.
There is to be an immediate cut of £17.2m from the specific road safety capital grant and £20.6m cut in the road safety component of revenue area based grant. This represents a reduction of the entire capital grant and 27% in the revenue grant. The capital grant is used for road safety engineering measures such as pedestrian crossings and installation of fixed cameras and speed humps. The revenue grant is used for local authority-led local road safety partnerships, which carry out campaigns and education, particularly of young people, who are more likely to die on our roads than die from any other cause or illness and for costs such as maintenance of speed cameras.
The Department for Transport has told Brake that the government does not expect there to be a direct correlation between the savage grant reductions for road safety and local authority expenditure on road safety: they say it is for local authorities to decide where their priorities lie across all their responsibilities and they are free to swap funding from one area to another.
Ellen Booth, campaigns officer for Brake, said: “Brake is outraged that road safety has been targeted so brutally – traffic is the biggest killer of young people and dangerous behaviour on roads causes thousands of horrific deaths and injuries of all ages every year in the UK. By targeting road safety, the government has shown they have no concern for the families of the future carnage we may see because of this irresponsible and short sighted cut of a vital life-saving service, and also no understanding of the enormous expense to the emergency services of road crashes and therefore the false economy of making these cuts.
“While the government has argued to Brake that local authorities will still be able to make a decision to spend money on road safety by re-allocating monies from elsewhere that are not ring fenced, the government has, by making the cuts to road safety spending so large, sent a very powerful message to local authorities that life saving work in road safety is not important at all.”
“Brake is meeting with road safety minister Mike Penning to take up this issue with him in person.”
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