Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed a North-South divide among English regions in the uptake of vouchers under the Fix Your Bike scheme, according to analysis of the data by road.cc.
Launched last summer, the scheme originally envisaged 500,000 vouchers worth £50 each being released to help people get neglected and unused bikes back into a roadworthy condition.
Households could apply for up to two vouchers, with participating repairers then redeeming them through the scheme, operated by the Energy Saving Trust, once they had carried out qualifying repairs.
Only 400,000 vouchers have been released to date, however, and as we reported earlier this month, the scheme now appears to have closed.
In a written question to Under Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the Labour peer Lord Berkeley, a patron of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking, asked “how many 'Fix Your Bike vouchers' were distributed (1) in total, and (2) in each region, in the four releases; and what is the total cost of the scheme to date.”
In her reply, the government minister provided a breakdown of the number of vouchers issued by region.
Analysis of the figures by road.cc, using Mid Year Population Estimates for 2019, published last year by the Office for National Statistics, shows that more than one in three vouchers were claimed by people in London and the South East – unsurprisingly, given that those are the two regions with the largest populations.
Source: road.cc analysis of DfT figures
Looking at the number of vouchers issued by population, however, shows that people in those regions, plus the South West, were more than 20 per cent more likely to claim a voucher than those in the West Midlands or the North East.
By region, the South West led the way with 0.76 vouchers issued per 100 people, followed by London on 0.75 and the South East at 0.74.
In regions in the Midlands and the North, only the North West, at 0.73 vouchers per 100 people, was ahead of the national average of 0.70, while the lowest number of vouchers issued per capita was seen in the West Midlands and North East, at 0.62.
In her reply to Lord Berkeley, Baroness Vere said: “The Department has now released over 400,000 Fix Your Bike vouchers, as well as fixing many more bikes via the Dr Bike pop-up maintenance stations which it funded. This is consistent with the Secretary of State’s commitment that the Government would help fix up to half a million bikes.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.