Tories withdraw £23m of promised spending for cycling in latest cuts

George Osborne announces the 'Cycling Cities' scheme will have its budget slashed by £23m as he looks to cut spending by £4.5bn

George Osborne (Photo: Altogetherfool/CC2.0)

A scheme announced by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in March to improve cycling infrastructure in cities around England will see its spending cut by 20 per cent, the Chancellor has announced.

George Osborne is set to slash £23m from the £114m pledged to the Cycling Ambition Cities Programme as he tries to cut departmental spending by £4.5bn.

The Department for Transport has been hit the hardest in the cuts, losing out on £545m, according to figures in the Guardian, while defence and education will lose £500m and £450m respectively.

It's little surprise that one of former Liberal Democrat leader Clegg's flagship schemes is one of the first things to feel the brunt of cuts, as the Tories shake the shackles of the coalition government they'd been part of since 2010.

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The cut means that around £91m will be split between eight cities: Bristol, Cambridge, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

Mr Clegg said in March: “We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce this investment for these major cities to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.”

Adding: “Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”

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Stuart Clarke

Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.