In the budget today, 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, the Road Safety charity, believes that these measures will 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 to the road safety budget for the current year (2010/11) by a catastrophic 40%, made up of a 27% cut to the revenue grant of £20.6m and a £100% cut to the capital grant of £17.2m. 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. Despite the cutbacks, the Department for Transport does not expect there to be a direct correlation between the savage grant reductions for road safety and local authority expenditure on road safety, saying 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. One road safety officer told Brake: “The major loss of funding this year, and the uncertainty of continued funding at all, may well result in the discontinuation of road safety partnerships with nothing to replace them. Road safety has been dropped and we can expect to see the death toll rise as a direct result.” 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. The government has sent a very powerful message to local authorities that life saving work in road safety is not important at all.” Bonnar & Company is all too familiar with the results of careless driving and poorly maintained roads and we are horrified by the government’s proposals. Most people would expect a new government to make safety on the roads a priority but it seems that we are being softened up for more swingeing cuts to health and safety expenditure across the board and that we can expect no favours from Lord Young’s forthcoming review. If you have been hurt or injured in a road traffic accident and would like an expert legal review of your case at no charge, please contact us on FREEPHONE 0800 163 978.
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