Cycle advocates, charities and alliances have started to react to the UK government’s removal of the £1,000 cap on the cycle to work scheme.
As expected, the move has been broadly welcomed, with many expecting growth in the numbers riding – and the amount of bicycles being bought.
Cycling UK: “We’d welcome similar support be offered to those not in work”
Matt Mallinder, Engagement Director at Cycling UK: “Electric cycles are a great way to boost cycle use, reducing congestion, pollution and carbon emissions, allowing people to make journeys that are a bit longer or hillier than they’d otherwise want to cycle. Cycling UK hopes the Government’s support will also encourage people who are older, frailer or a bit overweight to discover that they too can enjoy the benefits of cycling for their health, wealth and well-being, and that similar support can soon be offered for those who are not in work too.”
Sustrans: “Removing the cap will open up cycling to more people”
Xavier Brice, Chief Executive at Sustrans: “We warmly welcome the new Cycle to Work Scheme guidance which highlights the UK government’s ambition to make cycling an activity for everyone.
“Removing the cap an employee can spend on a bike will open up cycling to more people, enabling them to purchase specially adapted or electric cycles, which was not previously possible due to their high cost.
“Encouraging more people to get on bikes means that more people can enjoy the National Cycle Network. Sustrans is busy making paths on the Network more suitable for everyone by removing 16,000 barriers, as well as increasing the number of people who can actively travel to work with a smile on their face.
“There’s no doubt that cycling is good for our health and the environment, which is why we would like all employers and their workforces to take full advantage of the Scheme. In future we would like to see similar schemes on offer for those not in work so that more people can access cycles no matter their age or employment status.”
APPCG: “Vital modernisation of the scheme”
Ruth Cadbury MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group: “The Cycling APPG wants to see more people cycling more often. This is why we have been a long-standing and vocal supporter of the Cycle to Work Scheme and we’re delighted by the publication of this new guidance.
“As a cross-party group of parliamentarians, we have been united in our calls for the scheme to be expanded to reflect new innovations in the market, such as the rapid growth in availability and demand for e-bikes. This vital modernisation of the scheme will help to ease the financial barriers and convert more potential cyclists into regular active travel commuters.
“We look forward to working with the government and the cycling community to successfully implement these new guidelines and make cycling more accessible to everyone.”
Cycle to Work Alliance: “A significant step towards 2025 target”
Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, Adrian Warren: “On behalf of the Alliance, we are delighted the new Cycle to Work Scheme guidance has today been published. Cycling to work has extraordinary benefits for the environment, our health and wellbeing, and employer-employee relations, and today’s publication represents a significant step forward in getting more people physically active as part of the government’s ambitions to double cycling activity by 2025.
The new guidance will also enable more people than ever to participate in cycle to work, including disabled people, people who live further away from work, older workers and those on lower incomes. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to ensure awareness of the Scheme is maximised to all.”
Living Streets (UK charity): “It’s increasingly important that we commute in sustainable ways”
Stephen Edwards, Director of Policy & Communications at Living Streets: “It’s increasingly important that we commute short journeys in a sustainable way, such as walking and cycling. This improves our health by keeping us active but also helps cut traffic, greenhouse gases and air pollution. We, at Living Streets, offer the cycle to work scheme to our own employees. Our Walking Works scheme also provides help for people throughout the UK to walk all or part of the way to work – complementing the cycle to work scheme.”
Following the C2W announcement, Halfords released data from a October 2018 poll, which found that 23% would strongly support tax breaks for e-bikes, while 45% would tend to support a grant or subsidy scheme for e-bikes.
Halfords reports that electric bikes now account for 11% of total bike sales across its group and have grown by 47% on a like-for-like basis.