Cycling UK accuse Government of “airbrushing out any role for cycling” in post-covid plans

Cycling UK has accused the Chancellor of “airbrushing out any role for cycling in plans for a post-pandemic recovery” in an assessment of his claims that the Government is one “to invest in new infrastructure”.

Previously, Chancellor Rishi Sunak discussed his vision of a budget for the future which he said would impact on successive governments, particularly in cycling and walking investment.

The lack of cycling and walking in his address to Parliament was reinforced in the document outlining the detail of Budget 2021.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK Chief Executive said: “It’s right that the Chancellor sets out his plans for the future wellbeing and prosperity of the nation, but his and the Treasury’s complete disregard for cycling’s role in this future is a complete failure to make good on this Government’s plans to build back better.”

Last May the Government announced it would invest £2 billion in cycling and walking over five years leading up to 2025 to meet its ambition to double cycling trips from two percent of all journeys by the same year.

In total, £250 million was allocated for 2020/ 2021, with just £257 million set aside for the coming year (2021 / 2022). This means there is still £1.5 billion to be spent for the three years leading up to 2025. The charity says the Government’s ambitions to double cycling are already projected to fail unless the rate of investment is increased. It argues for the Government to have a realistic chance of meeting its target investment would need to be between £6 and £8 billion.

Sarah Mitchell said: “It’s impossible to have a ‘green recovery’ if we don’t actually invest in our future. Investment in cycling costs very little compared to other essential transport infrastructure, but has a huge return on investment. If this really is a government which plans to invest in new infrastructure, and which aims to ‘keep our streets safe’ and ‘support the most vulnerable’ then investing in cycling and walking makes simple economic sense

“Instead of this, we have a budget that is airbrushing out any role for cycling in its plans for a post-pandemic recovery.”