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Cycle To Work £1,000 cap raised to encourage e-bike sales

Joe Robinson
10 Jun 2019

Government plans to expand popular bike scheme by making electric bikes accessible

When it comes to the power of e-bikes, government seems to be fully plugged in. That's because, as of today, employees will be able to buy electric bikes and equipment through the Cycle To Work scheme above the previous £1,000 limit.

Before the announcement, workers who wanted to commute to their office by bicycle could purchase a bike through the popular Cycle To Work scheme but were limited to a £1,000 cap.

Many thousands have taken advantage of the scheme since it was first introduced 20 years ago, with the initiative replacing the toil of having to save up for a bike with a salary sacrifice scheme.

Now two decades on, the scheme is being updated to expand and react to the market, and most notably the growth of e-bikes – the pedal-assisted, zero-emission bicycles that have the potential to solve many of the concerns holding a large number of people back from commuting by bicycle.

E-bikes were available on the Cycle To Work scheme previously, but their cost rarely falls under £1,000, pricing them out of range of the scheme's cap.

By upping the cap, the Government hopes more will be incentivised to switch to a form of transport that it hopes can combat congestion, reduce commute times, cut costs and improve health, as Minister for Transport Michael Ellis said at the launch.

'Cycling is a vital and easy way to improve air quality, reduce pollution and create vibrant towns and cities. Making sure that bikes are easily available is crucial to helping more people make the switch to greener modes of transport. Ensuring people of all abilities and fitness levels can cycle together is a key part of this,' said Ellis.

'I want everyone to feel empowered to make cycling a part of their everyday lives, and our refreshed guidance provides many incentives to help people do this.'

Opening the door to e-bikes on the Cycle To Work scheme will hopefully convince those with longer commutes to choose the cycling over driving or public transport while also helping to sway those that consider themselves non-cyclists currently.

It was this that chair of the Cycle To Work Alliance Adrian Warren particularly welcomed.

'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 well-being, and employer-employee relations, and today’s publication is a significant step forward in getting more people physically active as part of the government’s ambitions to double cycling activity by 2025,' said Warren.

'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.'

In a YouGov poll taken last year, 20% of British workers expressed interest in buying an electric bike if the scheme's financial limit was raised to allow tax savings.

Meanwhile, government figures showed that 62% of the current Cycle To Work users considered themselves non-cyclists, novices or occasional riders before using the scheme.

Finally, a recent Evans Cycles survey estimated that those who switched from the car, bus, tube or train to commuting by e-bikes or standard bicycles could save an average of £7,791 over five years.

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