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Government Grant Review update


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34 minutes ago, Tim Lewis said:

No longer being announced in July

 

Government announcement:

 

Canal & River Trust grant review - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

 

Maybe giving C&RT time to revise the 'fantasy figures' they are using so as to be more reflective of reality.

 

Who really believes that there are that number of (was it 600,000,000) 'visits' per annum to the towpaths ?

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I guess being caught falsifying the annual report used as input to the Defra review means that nothing in it can be trusted... 

 

Certainly, CRT's whistle-blower was of the opinion that CRT routinely falsifies KPI's in annual reports. 

 

However, it is in Defra's interest to promote CRT as a sucess, especially a financial sucess. That allows it to look good and deliver on the objective of moving the financial burden of CRT from government to civil society. 

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CRT PRESS RELEASE

 

13th June 2022

 

GRANT REVIEW UPDATE

 

The Canal & River Trust has been notified that the Government expects to publish the outcome of the current Grant Review, which will determine future grant funding for the Trust beyond 2027, due on 1 July, in the autumn.

 

Whilst we are disappointed at the delay to the Review, we are continuing to work with Defra to achieve a successful outcome that will ensure the waterways have the funding they need so that they can be cared for, and continue to be safe and available for the millions of people who enjoy and benefit from them, for years to come.

 

Defra’s statement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/canal-river-trust-grant-review.

 

-ends-

 

 

Fran Read (she/her)

National press officer

I work Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays

M  07796 610 427

E  fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk

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How can it be a 'financial success' when it has failed to replace the Government 'grant' despite it's freedom from Government control? Parry has admitted that they must retain the Government 'grant' as it's still roughly 20% of their income.

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12 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

How can it be a 'financial success' when it has failed to replace the Government 'grant' despite it's freedom from Government control? Parry has admitted that they must retain the Government 'grant' as it's still roughly 20% of their income.

And that, I suspect, is the main reason why the announcement has been delayed. CRT wants to maintain more or less the current level of funding, Government wants to significantly reduce it, particularly in the current spending climate, and doesn't on the one hand want to be seen to be paying out public money for relatively well off people on boats (as the tabloids may see it), but equally doesn't want CRT handing the keys back because they can't make ends meet.

Edited by David Mack
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1 hour ago, Orwellian said:

How can it be a 'financial success' when it has failed to replace the Government 'grant' despite it's freedom from Government control? Parry has admitted that they must retain the Government 'grant' as it's still roughly 20% of their income.

Not sure I understand what you are saying here. CRT have no obligation to replace government grant. However, they did sign a memorandum of understanding where they accepted governments intention of withdrawing grant in the long term. 

 

Under the current grant agreement, CRT must perform at a certain level or suffer reduced grant. CRT have published figures that show that they they have improved slightly since 2012 and are performing at a level far in excess of the Government minimumum requirement. 

 

Parry's latest claim is that CRT has turned governments 2012 dowry of £460m into over £1,000m (much higher than the figure being used by Defra). 

 

Government grant is currently £52.6m pa. Parry has not admitted that CRT must retain this. Rather he argues that anunspecified level of government grant is needed post 2027 but fails to give a figure. 

 

The bottom line is that Defra can portray CRT as a successful charity that no longer requires support from taxpayers. 

Edited by Allan(nb Albert)
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I didn't say it had a legal obligation to replace the grant but the intention of both parties was that by being freed from Government control new sources of income from being in the third sector would replace (or even exceed) the grant as they built up over the 15 years of the funding agreement. That has clearly failed hence the admission by Parry that the renewal of Government funding is necessary even if he hasn't specified a figure. I don't see how that can be declared as financially successful.

The whole 'wellbeing' agenda is aimed at convincing Government that continued funding is justified because of the public benefit it provides.

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1 hour ago, David Mack said:

And that, I suspect, is the main reason why the announcement has been delayed. CRT wants to maintain more or less the current level of funding, Government wants to significantly reduce it, particularly in the current spending climate, and doesn't on the one hand want to be seen to be paying out public money for relatively well off people on boats (as the tabloids may see it), but equally doesn't want CRT handing the keys back because they can't make ends meet.

Governments intention is to eliminate grant rather than reduce it. In real terms grant is reducing between now and 2027 as it is fixed at £52.6m pa and no longer subject to inflation. 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Orwellian said:

 

Rather dishonest of Parry not to mention what CRT had agreed to

 

Quote

1.
To reduce dependence on Government Grant and to foster increasing selfsufficiency, by providing access to new charitable income streams and stimulating new efficiencies. Over time, to increase overall funding available for the waterways. A prerequisite for this is to support the viability of CRT – especially in its early days - and so minimise the risk that Government has to intervene to take responsibility for the waterways from CRT.
2.
To move the long term cost of maintaining the inland waterways and the associated heritage infrastructure (estimated at around £4 billion in nominal net present value terms) from the public sector to civil society.
3.
To support localism and give waterways users and communities greater involvement in the management and long term sustainability of the waterways.
4. To safeguard:
 the canals and associated heritage infrastructure through the Trust Settlement, in perpetuity, for the benefit of the nation; and  free pedestrian access to the towpaths.
5.
To ensure that the waterways continue to deliver and increase public benefits across the areas of:
a) public safety b) public access, recreation, amenity and health c) environment d) urban and rural regeneration e) heritage.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm guessing that the Defra civil servants may not have been terribly moved by Mr Parry's erudite demonstration of £ billions societal value accrued from non-subscription towpath-related health and wellbeing promoting activity (requiring only a few lawnmowers and hedgetrimmers to maintain).

 

By the way has anyone seen the 'Second Outcomes Report' summarising the results of CRT's 'Outcomes Measurment Framework', on which several million must have been spent so far?  FOIRs to CRT and Defra have confirmed the existence of a substantive draft yet they refuse to release it.

 

Personally I'd like to see the grant withdrawn and CRT being forced to hand the keys back allowing a new navigation authority to be formed.  This has not been a good experiment.

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38 minutes ago, SE Barlow said:

I'm guessing that the Defra civil servants may not have been terribly moved by Mr Parry's erudite demonstration of £ billions societal value accrued from non-subscription towpath-related health and wellbeing promoting activity (requiring only a few lawnmowers and hedgetrimmers to maintain).

 

By the way has anyone seen the 'Second Outcomes Report' summarising the results of CRT's 'Outcomes Measurment Framework', on which several million must have been spent so far?  FOIRs to CRT and Defra have confirmed the existence of a substantive draft yet they refuse to release it.

 

Personally I'd like to see the grant withdrawn and CRT being forced to hand the keys back allowing a new navigation authority to be formed.  This has not been a good experiment.

It's a poison chalice, the top management are well aware their tenure is short term, "take the money and run policy"

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2 hours ago, SE Barlow said:

Personally I'd like to see the grant withdrawn and CRT being forced to hand the keys back allowing a new navigation authority to be formed.  This has not been a good experiment.

And why do you think a new navigation authority would be any different to CRT?

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2 hours ago, SE Barlow said:

I'm guessing that the Defra civil servants may not have been terribly moved by Mr Parry's erudite demonstration of £ billions societal value accrued from non-subscription towpath-related health and wellbeing promoting activity (requiring only a few lawnmowers and hedgetrimmers to maintain).

 

By the way has anyone seen the 'Second Outcomes Report' summarising the results of CRT's 'Outcomes Measurment Framework', on which several million must have been spent so far?  FOIRs to CRT and Defra have confirmed the existence of a substantive draft yet they refuse to release it.

 

Personally I'd like to see the grant withdrawn and CRT being forced to hand the keys back allowing a new navigation authority to be formed.  This has not been a good experiment.

 

So who would this new "Navigation" Authority be?   Somebody with knowledge of running a transport system and first hand knowledge of the canals?  A track record of delivering projects in the outdoor sector and with community engagement.   let me think.....................Sustrans!    and I am not joking.

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8 hours ago, dmr said:

 

So who would this new "Navigation" Authority be?   Somebody with knowledge of running a transport system and first hand knowledge of the canals?  A track record of delivering projects in the outdoor sector and with community engagement.   let me think.....................Sustrans!    and I am not joking.

 

 

I have said before that the National Trust would be a pretty good 'fit'

They have the management skills to run a business, allbeit a charity

 

They take on 'old ruins' generate the cash to rebuild them and keep them open - yes, we'd probably have to pay more but currently the licence fees are far too low to be sustainable.

 

What must be avoided is the retention of the existing 'top-team'. Any new 'Trust' would have to have a clear out of the existing management to one who is less interested in 'rebranding and new signs every week' to ones actually interested in the maintenance and improvement of the canal systems 'historic interest' and focus on the primary roll of 'navigation authority' rather than a provider of social outdoor space for all.

 

 

The Trust was founded in 1895 by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley to "promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the Nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest". It was given statutory powers, starting with the National Trust Act 1907. Historically, the Trust acquired land by gift and sometimes by public subscription and appeal, but after World War II the loss of country houses resulted in many such properties being acquired either by gift from the former owners or through the National Land Fund. Country houses and estates still make up a significant part of its holdings, but it is also known for its protection of wild landscapes such as in the Lake District and Peak District. As well as the great estates of titled families, it has acquired smaller houses including some whose significance is not architectural but through their association with famous people, for example, the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

One of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, the Trust owns almost 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres; 2,500 km2; 970 sq mi) of land and 780 miles of coast. Its properties include over 500 historic houses, castles, archaeological and industrial monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. Most properties are open to the public for a charge (members have free entry), while open spaces are free to all. The Trust has an annual income of over £680 million, largely from membership subscriptions, donations and legacies, direct property income, profits from its shops and restaurants, and investments. It also receives grants from a variety of organisations including other charities, government departments, local authorities and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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When the National Trust were responsible for the South Stratford Canal it was in a terrible state.  I think we need more focus on navigation aspects, including preventative maintenance.

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I'd vote for the Avon Navigation Trust. They seem to do a pretty good job on a challenging river navigation on a fairly small budget.

 

Many of the senior people are boaters, which probably helps.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Lady C said:

When the National Trust were responsible for the South Stratford Canal it was in a terrible state.  I think we need more focus on navigation aspects, including preventative maintenance.

Exactly!

And the repair work they carried out to their locks and bridges did not match the high standards they apply to their historic houses and similar properties.

After running the canal for a number of years they lost interest and threatened to close it, unless BW took it back, which was what happened in the end.

They were also major objectors to the restoration of the Higher Avon - one of the reasons they wanted to get rid of the Stratford I believe.

That said, they do seem to be doing a better job on the Wey.

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3 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

I'd vote for the Avon Navigation Trust. They seem to do a pretty good job on a challenging river navigation on a fairly small budget.

 

Many of the senior people are boaters, which probably helps.

 

 

 

 

I had thought of them but, although well run, they are a very tiny company (t/o £760,000) & it is not easy to jump from managing a '2-men and a dog' company to running a £215 million t/o company with 1600 employees and a 'employment costs' of £66 million.

 

It needs running by a company who have skilled managers capable of managing the complexities of a large company.

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The National Trust will only take on a property if it comes with a substantial dowry.  Usually the dowry has to be large enough to cover any major repairs needed and to fund the routine upkeep of the property.  

 

No government is going to fund the transfer of the waterways on that basis, so it is not likely the NT would take them on.  NT also remember the Southern Stratford where the restoration was a success  of sorts, but the day to day operation and upkeep turned into a nightmare.

Whatever the future, CRT have a current funding problem, of their own making to some extent.  The top management  believed the wildly optimistic figures for charitable income achievable.  They accepted the under assessments of  costs of maintenance.  They ignored the large backlog of work built up by Robin Evans' regime at BW.  They then cut their coat according to the cash in hand, further neglecting maintenance, ignoring safety inspection regimes and disposing of all the staff that knew how to do things,  in order to save money., whilst still wasting it on rebranding, fatuous wellbeing campaigns and the like. This is steadily becoming a problem with no easy solution.

 

The government does not want to provide any money, except, perhaps,  to maintain drainage and, if forced,  for public safety ( big embankments and the like).   The government is struggling for money, anyway.   Charitable donations will not provide any big sums of  money.  Increasing the cost of boating does not provide much money, certainly not enough to solve the problem.  CRT cannot charge for towpath access, and does not have English Heritage's ability to use flagship sites (Stonehenge etc.) to cross subsidise the small sites like Rollright.

 

Where then can the money be found?

 

N

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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

I had thought of them but, although well run, they are a very tiny company (t/o £760,000) & it is not easy to jump from managing a '2-men and a dog' company to running a £215 million t/o company with 1600 employees and a 'employment costs' of £66 million.

 

It needs running by a company who have skilled managers capable of managing the complexities of a large company.

 

I don't disagree with that, but having the senior management team actually interested in boating is possibly more important.  

 

Corporate management skills can be recruited elsewhere.  In the real world what would happen is nearly all the management and staff from CRT would remain in place.  

 

Don't forget Richard Parry tried quite hard to change the BW culture when he took over, and he certainly qualified as a skilled corporate manager.  Well trained you might say ... :D

 

 

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2 minutes ago, BEngo said:

The National Trust will only take on a property if it comes with a substantial dowry.  Usually the dowry has to be large enough to cover any major repairs needed and to fund the routine upkeep of the property.  

 

No government is going to fund the transfer of the waterways on that basis, so it is not likely the NT would take them on.  NT also remember the Southern Stratford where the restoration was a success  of sorts, but the day to day operation and upkeep turned into a nightmare.

Whatever the future, CRT have a current funding problem, of their own making to some extent.  The top management  believed the wildly optimistic figures for charitable income achievable.  They accepted the under assessments of  costs of maintenance.  They ignored the large backlog of work built up by Robin Evans' regime at BW.  They then cut their coat according to the cash in hand, further neglecting maintenance, ignoring safety inspection regimes and disposing of all the staff that knew how to do things,  in order to save money., whilst still wasting it on rebranding, fatuous wellbeing campaigns and the like. This is steadily becoming a problem with no easy solution.

 

The government does not want to provide any money, except, perhaps,  to maintain drainage and, if forced,  for public safety ( big embankments and the like).   The government is struggling for money, anyway.   Charitable donations will not provide any big sums of  money.  Increasing the cost of boating does not provide much money, certainly not enough to solve the problem.  CRT cannot charge for towpath access, and does not have English Heritage's ability to use flagship sites (Stonehenge etc.) to cross subsidise the small sites like Rollright.

 

Where then can the money be found?

 

N

 

A good summary of 'where we are'

 

The easiest source of extra funds is the 'low hanging fruit' that is the boaters.

 

Current income from boaters is around £40 million and it costs £12 million to achieve that. If the licence fee were to be doubled there would be (probably) no increase in the costs  and so the extra £40 million would be 'free' and could almost replace the DEFRA grant - if DEFRA retain the grant then the additional £40m would go a long way to paying for some more managers and signage (or maintenance on the navigation)

7 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

In the real world what would happen is nearly all the management and staff from CRT would remain in place.  

 

Indeed I have been caught up in the TUPE 'trap' when we purchased companies.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BEngo said:

The National Trust will only take on a property if it comes with a substantial dowry.  Usually the dowry has to be large enough to cover any major repairs needed and to fund the routine upkeep of the property.  

 

No government is going to fund the transfer of the waterways on that basis, so it is not likely the NT would take them on.  NT also remember the Southern Stratford where the restoration was a success  of sorts, but the day to day operation and upkeep turned into a nightmare.

Whatever the future, CRT have a current funding problem, of their own making to some extent.  The top management  believed the wildly optimistic figures for charitable income achievable.  They accepted the under assessments of  costs of maintenance.  They ignored the large backlog of work built up by Robin Evans' regime at BW.  They then cut their coat according to the cash in hand, further neglecting maintenance, ignoring safety inspection regimes and disposing of all the staff that knew how to do things,  in order to save money., whilst still wasting it on rebranding, fatuous wellbeing campaigns and the like. This is steadily becoming a problem with no easy solution.

 

The government does not want to provide any money, except, perhaps,  to maintain drainage and, if forced,  for public safety ( big embankments and the like).   The government is struggling for money, anyway.   Charitable donations will not provide any big sums of  money.  Increasing the cost of boating does not provide much money, certainly not enough to solve the problem.  CRT cannot charge for towpath access, and does not have English Heritage's ability to use flagship sites (Stonehenge etc.) to cross subsidise the small sites like Rollright.

 

Where then can the money be found?

 

N


If I remember correctly the National Trust had to give British Waterways a substantial dowry to take on the Southern Stratford 

Edited by Tim Lewis
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