Government hears Cycle to Work Alliance case for low income accessibility

The Government has met with the Cycle to Work Alliance on the back of the creation of a report that calls into question whether the scheme should be broadened to deliver wider access to low income and self-employed persons.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Minister of State at the Department for Transport and man tasked with overseeing cycling policy, responded to a question pitched from Shadow Minister Kerry McCarthy raising the report’s conclusions. The dialogue revealed a meeting has already taken place in April between the Department for Transport and the cycle to work umbrella group, which is made up of a handful of the firms handling paperwork for the scheme’s deployment.

Heaton-Harris stated yesterday: “The Government welcomes the report from the Cycle to Work Alliance. Officials from the Department for Transport, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Her Majesty’s Treasury met with the Cycle to Work Alliance to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations on 29 April. The recommendations, including the possible change to allow those on the minimum wage to access the scheme, will be considered carefully to establish whether and how the Cycle to Work scheme could be improved.”

The subject has become a focal point of cycling policy discussion of late on the back of last year’s turbulence in the marketplace where the commissions structures were called into question and in some quarters adjusted. In the CI.N interview series alongside MPs and Peers produced over the course of this year, several politicians have raised the subject of adjusting the parameters on which people can gain access to the salary sacrifice and discount benefits.

Labour’s Ruth Cadbury said in the first of the series: “I would like to make bikes cheaper to acquire in order that a broader section of society has this cheap mobility option. Though we do have the cycle to work scheme and while I do welcome the ceiling lift, it is regrettable that it’s delivered via a salary offset scheme. Many non-PAYE workers cannot participate. For an employer the sign up is a bureaucracy for many. In the present climate many are just trying to pay the wages, so the way this functions needs to be simpler.”

Conservative MP Selaine Saxby, a fellow co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking added in her interview: “I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to a review if problems with the scheme do need addressing.”