more from the department of history repeating

An exchange from the house, recorded in Hansard, 10 June 1985, which is rather reminiscent of Norman Baker's recent letter to local authorities, and their reply.

Mr Jack Dormand (Easington)
Is the Minister aware that there is a growing desire among local authorities to provide facilities for cycling, but that they are unable to do so because of the Government's restrictive policies concerning local government finance?
As the Minister is such an enthusiast for cycling, will she say what action she is taking to try to end the contradictory situation in which the Government are urging local authorities to do something and are then preventing them from acting because they do not have the money to do it?

Mrs Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
It would be wrong for us to dictate to local authorities exactly what, within the overall highways budget, their priorities should be. Every year they are asked to submit a transport policy and programme in which they are invited to give their criteria for cycling schemes. I shall be happy to note those and respond to such TPPs through the TSG. It is, of course, up to local councillors to decide what their priorities are within the overall highways budget.

Interesting though that, at this point, it is being suggested that the government are "urging local authorities to do something" for cycling, perhaps contradicting my impression that the Thatcher government wouldn't have even pretended to care about the decline of cycling.

Jack Dormand was rather before my time. Wikipedia has this to say about him:

Despite his age, he remained physically active. In the 1970s he had campaigned successfully for the establishment of a parliamentary gym, continued playing cricket and rugby until the age of 63, and cycled from the House of Commons to his flat near Millbank. The then Leader of the House of Commons, John Biffen, recounted how Dormand would "swathe himself in luminous strips" before setting off, and although he abandoned the bicycle in 1987, deterred by London's heavy traffic, he took up walking instead.

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