British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman and Britain’s most successful female paralympian Dame Sarah Storey have urged the government to introduce tax breaks of up to £250 per year for those who take up cycling to work.
The proposal, plus a suggestion that companies be offered tax incentives for investing in cycling, comes from Jolyon Maugham QC – one of the country’s top tax experts – on behalf of the #ChooseCycling network.
Just 2 per cent of Brits currently cycle regularly with annual government spend on cycling at below £1 per head. This compares with the Netherlands where cycling spend is currently at around £30 per head and around 30 per cent of trips are made by bike.
Boardman, said: “If more people cycled to work regularly the government would save millions on squeezed NHS budgets and our roads would be much less congested. That in itself would more than pay for a £250 tax break and would provide a real incentive for people to live more active lives.”
Storey said: “Britain’s businesses have woken up to the benefits that cycling can bring to their employees and it’s about time that the government followed suit.
"It’s only right that if a company invests heavily in providing high quality changing and bike storage facilities – things that will help our nation become healthier and fitter – that they should get a tax incentive for it.
"We want Britain to become a true cycling nation and we’ll only get there if we can get the government to be forward-thinking and to work in partnership with business.”
Maugham’s proposals are:
- A specific capital allowance for businesses which invest in facilities for cyclists (showers, bike parking etc) up to a cost of £100,000
- Tax breaks of up to £250 per year for people who take up cycling to work
- Extending the cycle to work scheme – enabling people to buy bicycles from untaxed income – to cover people who are self-employed
Maugham said: “The specific measures we’ve proposed tackle some of the key disincentives to cycling. They are innovative, cost-effective and will help deliver a number of the government’s key objectives.”
A recent survey of British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling network found that improving employee health and wellbeing was the top priority for businesses who invest in cycling facilities and promotion.
Two thirds of the firms viewed the promotion of cycling as more important now than in previous years, and there was a desire to do more to promote cycling to customers and service users.
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