Sunday, 22 April 2012

Putting the CART before the horse

As you may know, British Waterways, the government body which has administered the waterways of Great Britain for the last half-century is being morphed into a charitable trust. Under government ownership it has been under-funded to such an extent that there is about £125m backlog  of maintenance work.  As a charity the new Canal and Rivers  Trust ( or CART) will have to find the money from whichever source it can.  It cannot rely on the government to stump up even the paltry sums or yore.  The Trust members are the same bunch of incompetents who ran BW which explains why they think this arrangement is an improvement. I cannot see how taking on the responsibility of maintaining a crumbling canal network with no guaranteed source of income is viable.  The CART trustees tell us that the third sector will provide When I first heard this I thought they meant The Trinity would provide The more news that comes from CART the more this seems likely.  In fact the magic ingredient is volunteers.  All the specialised maintenance work which BW has been unable to accomplish by sacking the experienced lengthsmen and outsourcing to contractors is going to be done by Joe Public who will be knocking at the door of CART  and volunteering. No, I am not making this up. They really believe this. Next time we encounter a lock gate which  is impossible to operate because of lack of maintenance I shall pick a name from my address book and ring you up. It will be your turn to volunteer.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of this new financial model CART has just purchased the following items to celebrate its foundation:
29,460 balloons
45,750 metres of bunting
25,000 stickers
This will certainly bring in the volunteers.
Get yours now!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:51 am BST

    Perhaps if the backlog in maintenance was just £125m then it would not be so bad. The facts of the matter are that in 2002 (the year in which Robin Evans was appointed as chief executive) according to BW's annual report, it had a backlog of £187m which it intended to largely eliminate by 2012.

    In 2007, a report from BW stated that the backlog was £200m and that it was underspending by some £25m on maintenance. The latest figures that we have are that BW is underspending by £39m on maintenance.

    If underspend translates directly into backlog, then we a looking at a backlog of one third of a billion pounds.

    Allan (narrowboatworld)


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