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Surviving the Cuts and Securing the Future: The funding and structure of the inland waterways of England and Wales

Published 2010

IWAC’s principal objective for this report is:
“To explore how best to maintain or to improve in real terms the current level of income and expenditure in order that the whole network can be maintained in the long term in a sustainable condition thereby ensuring that the full economic and social benefits can continue to be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

The Key Conclusions

The principal conclusions of the Report were that:

  • the current structure of the inland waterways is cumbersome with significant weaknesses which result in an inefficient use of existing resources;
  • the existing funding gap – which would be exacerbated by any further cuts in Government financial support to the sector – will result in sections of the current waterways infrastructure becoming unserviceable perhaps on a permanent basis;
  • there are opportunities to increase non grant income within the present structures and to achieve efficiencies in the existing cost base;
  • there is a strong case for public funding for the sector, and this support should be based on the key funding principles identified in this report;
  • the move of British Waterways into the third sector could have significant potential advantages but will not resolve many of the current funding problems of British Waterways and will do little to address the inefficiencies and weaknesses in the structural arrangements of the inland waterways sector as a whole; and
  • the best chance of achieving long term stability and financial security, not just for British Waterways but for the inland waterways as a whole, is by the creation of a new structure and governance arrangements which embrace all parts of the sector.