CRT have issued this 2 August.
There is more information on the northern canals here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/an-update-on-northern-water-levels
CRT say this on 2 August 2022
In light of soaring inflation, which is impacting the costs required to keep the waterways safe and navigable, the Canal & River Trust is today announcing an inflationary rise of 4% in boat licence fees from 1 October 2022. This is in conjunction with cost saving measures that the Trust is taking and actions to increase income from other sources.
Whilst recognising that a second increase in fees this year is regrettable, the charity is facing significant increases in a range of its costs – notably the prices of energy, fuel, materials and other construction costs which are rising by more than headline consumer inflation rates, leading to a projected shortfall in the Trust’s finances as costs outstrip budget projections and are forecast to exceed the charity’s income. Additionally, the Government grant payment – which goes towards the cost of maintaining the waterways – is frozen this year (and hence declining in real terms) and until 2027. Unless measures are taken urgently by the Trust to address its budget gap this year, its priority works could be significantly affected.
The rise follows the earlier increase in fees, also 4%, from 1 April. Consequently, boaters renewing their licences from 1 October will face a combined 8% increase. This will still be some way below current inflation of 9.4% and predicted to rise further. When the earlier 4% increase in boat licence fees was agreed in October 2021, UK inflation (CPI) was 3.1%, with some short-term increase predicted but nothing close to current sustained rates of inflation.
In order to reduce spending, the charity is scaling back on non-essential works and focussing on those which are required legally or which support navigation. Whilst this winter will necessarily see a number of planned works deferred, the Trust will still deliver one of its largest programmes of repairs and maintenance to date. The Trust is also making cost saving cuts more generally across the business and scaling back any discretionary activities; however the asset repair works are the predominant use of the charity’s funds, above the day-to-day cost of keeping the network open. In parallel, the Trust is seeking to maximise revenue from its other income streams.
Richard Parry, chief executive at Canal & River Trust, said: “This has been a very difficult decision for the Trust. We recognise that our boating customers will be feeling the effect of inflation across their personal finances and a mid-year price increase will not be welcomed. But the highest levels of inflation in 40 years cannot be ignored and we are compelled to take steps to reduce the budget shortfall we now face, with our Government grant frozen since 2021, and with the combined 2022 licence fee increases remaining lower than the current inflation rate. We continue to prioritise our work to maintain and repair the historic canals and river navigations in our care, doing what we can to reduce spending in other areas and to generate income from other sources where possible.
The Government's much publicised £400 Energy Support Scheme has so far not been available to boaters or other off grid users. It is administered though the energy providers. If you have no domestic electricity or gas supply, then you don't get it.
There has been a campaign to include off-grid households. It is obviously discriminatory that those without an energy supply contract are denied access to this important support. A petition has been started, calling on the Secretary of State for Business to include off-grid households in the Government’s support scheme. So far it has over 1,000 signatures. You can sign it here:
NABO Vice Chair Ann has received this letter back from her MP, see here.
So we have made a start on this. You might also wish to write to your MP about this, to keep the pressure on..
The Canal & River Trust is launching the first ever Boater Census and is asking every boat licence holder to take part and help paint a picture of who boats on the charity’s waterways.
The Boater Census has been designed with input from boater representatives on the Trust’s Council to help understand the different needs of those who live on or who use their boats for leisure on the 2,000 miles of waterways the charity looks after in England & Wales. The anonymous data will be available to share with other organisations, such as local authorities and health service providers, to help them understand boaters’ needs and ensure they are met.
Matthew Symonds, head of customer service at Canal & River Trust, said: “While we know quite a lot about the boats that are on our network, for example the size, type and even their age, we know much less about the people onboard and their circumstances. The Boater Census will give us a comprehensive overview of the people who boat on our waterways, what they are using their boats for, and the challenges that they might face.
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