Meeting of the APPGW
Anne Husar listened in to a presentation to MPs from Richard Parry.
A few observations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways’ meeting in October: there were no MPs taking part in the Zoom meeting, apart from the Chair, Michael Fabricant. One participant, Sir Robert Atkins, therefore regarded the whole meeting as having no point. It’s difficult not to agree. Many potential participants were unable to join the meeting because the organisers had not paid the small extra amount to have more than 100 Zoom attendees. The sound quality was very poor, with a pervasive echo that rendered much of what was being said unintelligible. Apparently, this was due to too many mics in the room being switched on at the same time, but it was never resolved.
Richard Parry began the presentation by saying that he wasn’t going to talk about boating, although he acknowledged that it was ‘central’ to what they do. He stated that the charity model had been successfully established, but I would have liked more definition of the word ‘successfully’. He realises that there is much to do for the future. Strangely, in a lengthy Powerpoint presentation, the slide featuring a photo-collage of CRT volunteers did not have one of them working on the canals and just one slide was devoted to preservation of waterway heritage. CRT’s income from investments is forecast to drop, but he is optimistic that fundraising efforts will go up, although not by a sufficient amount to cover this deficit. The worst-case scenario is that a reduced grant = more structure failures = a canal system eventually completely failing = CRT having to prioritise the money it has to pay off bonds and shore up its pension funds. I again offer more pleas for NABO members to write to their MPs, while DEFRA is still considering CRT’s funding.