Ask the Trade: What could UK Gov do to quickly stimulate cycling growth?

Having detailed utilising the Cycle to Work scheme to achieve cycling growth this week on CI.N, our retail panel mulls over other Government incentives that could drive sales, such as VAT reduction

cycle to workIs there anything the Government could do that you would find more beneficial as a retailer of bikes?

John Clarke, Velospeed
We think reducing or removing VAT on bikes would be a good idea. It would make bikes cheaper for everyone and be far simpler.

I’ve written to my MP (Laura Farris) suggesting this and she seems to be interested in the idea. At the moment, the government are very pro-cycling. That provides an opportunity to invest in infrastructure and get more people out of their cars, for all those obvious reasons.

If not VAT, they could give a grant, or I suppose have the cycle to work scheme operated by government as it may have been originally intended, rather than shifting it off to a third-party who is there to make a profit.

Anonymous, London retailer
I’d still suggest prohibition of third-party providers charging ridiculous commissions to the cycle store as part of a salary sacrifice scheme.

Matthew Cleathero, Grounds Cycle Centres
If they’re serious about cycling growth infrastructure is key. Remove politics from providing this change. Too much time is wasted with local councils arguing over how to spend the budget. Consult with local cycle campaigners and support small improvements.

Secondly, VAT should be reduced on e-bikes and sub £1,000 bikes. Ideally there would be no VAT on consumable bike parts to support regular maintenance. It is Important for all independent businesses (not just cycle retailers) that business rate and rent supports at assessed too.

As a sideline, I’d like to see greater education, supporting the infrastructure change, of drivers and other road users, including cycling. We can’t expect change without having our own house in order. People will be reluctant to embrace cycling without a safer environment to ride in.