A boaters’ group has proposed that the transfer of British Waterways to charity status would be an ideal opportunity to put in place statutory protection for the homes of all boat dwellers in the UK. Currently there is no legal recognition of the homes of boat dwellers (a boat is a chattel in law) and no statutory protection from eviction.
Archive for August, 2011
A look at the BW Directors’ targets for 2010-2011 (obtained in a Freedom of Information request) shows that three of the eight executive directors of BW are likely to get bonuses for achieving the move to charity status. The directors’ bonuses are linked to achieving these targets. BW has just announced that in 2011 the Directors will get up to £15,000 each in bonus payments on top of their six-figure salaries. The staff who matter most, who do maintenance and repairs and look after boaters and the waterways every day, will get a paltry £100 or so in comparison.
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) representative on the Mooring Strategy Steering Group has made it clear that his understanding of the local mooring strategy is to “reduce the numbers of those living on the canal” so that within 5 years “they would be able to plan for a different life-style”. In an email to BW’s Sally Ash, the IWA rep Tim Wheeldon also stated that “there will be no question of anyone being forced to give up home, school or job in the short term“.
The Public Bodies Bill, which will transfer BW to charity status, will be considered by the Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons between 8 September and 13 October. The Committee will consider the Bill in detail and probably make more amendments. The Committee Chair is David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend West.
Duncan Hames, the Liberal Democrat MP for Chippenham, whose constituency includes the Kennet and Avon canal between Dundas and Hilperton, was contacted recently by a number of boaters concerned that the transfer of BW to charity status would put them at increased risk of homelessness. As a result, Mr Hames asked this question in the House of Commons on their behalf: