Thank you for contacting me about canals.

There are three major rivers running through my West Worcestershire constituency and I am acutely aware of their importance to our visitor economy and to the large number of local people who enjoy them as part of their regular leisure activities.

To date, the Canal & River Trust has been supported with £550 million funding from the Government. While there is no obligation on Ministers to fund the Canal & River Trust beyond 2027, I am aware that, subject to certain conditions being met, the Government will offer a new long-term funding package of over £400 million.

Since first created in 2012 as a private charity independent of the Government, Ministers have been clear that the Canal & River Trust should become progressively more self-sufficient financially.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Canal & River Trust signed in June 2012 included the objective to “reduce dependence on Government Grant and to foster increasing self-sufficiency, by providing access to new charitable income streams and stimulating new efficiencies.”

Thank you again for contacting me.