Government drive to get people on their bikes fails to grip nation

Less than 1% of UK employees are taking advantage of ‘cycle-to-work’ schemes, despite encouragement from their employees, according to research.

The survey of 142 companies by Watson Wyatt consultancy showed that more than a quarter of employers had introduced cycle-to-work schemes. But only one company in the survey had more than 5% of employees taking up its cycle-to-work initiative.

Most businesses that had introduced the schemes reported that less than 1% of staff had taken up the green transport plan, introduced by the government in 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work and reduce environmental pollution.

The scheme provides an annual tax exemption, which allows employers to loan cycles and cyclist’s safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. There are also savings in National Insurance contributions.

Kim Honess, head of flexible benefits consulting at Watson Wyatt said: “Despite the low take-up rates, many companies are happy with their cycle-to-work schemes because, for those few employees who do take it up, it tends to be highly appreciated.

“We fully expect employers to continue to introduce cycle-to-work schemes, not least because the administration cost and hassle is fairly low.”


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