Labour leadership – an update

Now that voting is open for the leadership of Scottish Labour and both candidates have announced their manifestos, where do they stand on active travel – and have they responded yet to our letter?

We haven’t had a direct detailed reply yet, but we have had a response from both on Twitter – and both manifestos do mention active travel

First up, Richard Leonard (because he was the first to respond) who tweeted:

Active travel does make it into the very last paragraph of his manifesto, and suggests he will increase investment and explicitly mentions infrastructure, although there are no real specifics:

“Support methods of ‘active travel’ such as walking and cycling through more investment in our transport infrastructure. Not only will encouraging more people to walk and cycle reduce carbon emissions, it helps contribute to a healthier society.”

Anas Sarwar wasn’t far behind, tweeting:

His manifesto also leaves it right to the end, but explicitly promises to increase active travel’s share of the transport budget:

“We will re-regulate Scotland’s bus system to save lifeline routes, and fight for public ownership of ferry services. We will create a loan fund to encourage councils to consider municipal bus services, modelled on the success of Lothian Buses, and increase the proportion of the transport budget spent on Active Travel.”

If you’re a member of the Labour party and want to know more about the two candidates’ policies, please do get in touch with them directly – the more they hear about active travel during the campaigns, the more they will understand that it’s not just an afterthought – it’s key to such things as health inequality and childhood health, both of which they emphasise in their policies.

And whether you’re a member of the party or not, do please get in touch with your MSPs because there is a debate next week on active travel. Let them know what points you think are important at this crucial time, as the government prepares to spend the extra investment it has promised. Both Spokes and Pedal on Parliament have some thoughts on this that might help.



Join us in Glasgow this Sunday

Short notice – but please join us this Sunday for a small celebratory event to mark the government announcement that it will be doubling spending on active travel. We will be gathering outside the SNP conference at the SEC Centre at 3pm for a celebratory ringing of bike bells, and presenting the transport minister Humza Yousaf with a thank-you slice of “rocky road” cake, in recognition of the fact that investment in better infrastructure for cycling and walking is set to be doubled from £40m to £80m per year.

Although this is by no means the end of our campaigning journey, this year’s Programme for Government marked an important milestone on the road to an active Scotland and we wish to positively welcome it.

Join us if you can, with your family, and feel free to wear whatever campaign-group t-shirt, hoody or hat you belong to, to mark the diversity of our collaborative campaign, and to celebrate the many different organisations that have contributed towards this moment.

SEC gathering

A letter to the Labour leadership candidates ….

With nominations closed for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party, we’re writing to both candidates to find out where they stand on active travel:

Dear Richard Leonard / Anas Sarwar

Congratulations on your nomination for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.

We are writing on behalf of We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote, a collaborative campaign supported by a wide range of organisations across Scotland, from community and active travel groups to health charities. We want to see all parties in Scotland support three ‘asks’ which we believe will turn Scotland into a healthier, wealthier, happier country and help transform our lives and the lives of our children.

We would like to know where you stand on the following three asks, and whether you would make these Labour party policy if you were elected leader:

  • Investment: Provide sustained, long term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget.
  • Infrastructure: Build and maintain dedicated cycling infrastructure suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Local action: To solve the main local barriers to active travel, as identified by residents and businesses.

We would be happy to discuss any of these policy pledges in more detail but it is now well understood that investment in the right conditions for active travel brings many benefits, from reduced congestion and pollution, to improved health benefits and reductions in social isolation. The current SNP administration has already raised the bar with the announcement of a doubling of spending on active travel over the course of the current parliament. We hope that Labour party policy would not reverse this progress, and indeed would go further.

We will be publishing this request to both candidates on our website, along with your replies, with your permission.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sally Hinchcliffe and Suzanne Forup

On behalf of We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote

We will keep you posted with any replies as they arrive.