Cycle to Work safe but sustainable transport takes a knock

Posted - September 9, 2011

George Osborne last week delivered a budget that was dominated by a cut in fuel duty, but failed to mention any plans for sustainable transport such as cycling.

The Cycle to Work Scheme was not mentioned, and after the Office of Tax Simplification's recommendation that it should be retained, this news was welcomed by Cycle Solutions director Steve Edgell

"We are delighted the Office of Tax Simplification has recognised the important work the cycle to work scheme plays in supporting the Government’s health, environment and sustainable transport policy."

However despite the continuation of the employee benefit, sustainable transport was left off the radar, with public transport and cycling given the cold shoulder in place of incentivising the use of a car. There was no mention of how those unable to afford to drive will be catered for, something that Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity was quick to condemn.

“Sadly he has delivered the budget from behind the steering wheel of a Ford Focus and turned his back on an opportunity to provide alternatives to car use and much needed support to those suffering from the high cost of fuel.”

“We do ourselves no favours by continuing to ignore the obvious – oil is a finite resource and will become unaffordable long before it finally dries up.”

With the added blow of the withdrawal of funding from the Cycle to Work Breakfast, the Chancellor has been accused by Sustrans of focusing on short-term gains to achieve support for the coalition, going on to say, “So on the one hand the Government has subsidised fuel for cars, but on the other it is looking to withdraw fuel for cyclists. Cycle to Work breakfasts were used by a local authorities and government departments, as well as a number of employers.”

"This is a Government that has said it encourages people to cycle, but so far it has abolished Cycling England and now this – withdrawing an initiative they helps employers to encourage employees to cycle to work - it's usually very popular during Bike Week.”

In a time where we are running on a limited resource the Government should be looking at alternative means of transport, rather than encouraging people to use their cars with meaningless fuel price cuts. In abolishing Cycling England and withdrawing funding from the Cycle to Work Breakfast the small avenues used by those campaigning for cycling have decreased even more.

One of the few rays of hope is the Cycle to Work Scheme, which enables employees to gain the use of a bicycle using salary sacrifice. This means that they obtain a form of sustainable transport, and get to make savings on the cost of the bike. Not only does this help the environment by reducing carbon emissions, it also promotes fitness amongst staff and saves money for both the employee and employer.

You can find out more about the Cycle to Work Scheme and how it can benefit you and your staff by visiting our Employee and Employer pages. Alternatively you contact us.

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