CTC and Sustrans say “disastrous” budget sends out wrong signals

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Both CTC and Sustrans have expressed disappointment at the Chancellor’s budget, announced yesterday.

After reducing the price of petrol, the Chancellor announced plans to cancel the tax relief on the meals that employers provide on Cycle to Work days.

Cycle to Work meals are a way for organisations to encourage their staff to leave their cars at home and try cycling. The initiative began in 2002 and is widely used by private sector companies, local authorities and Government departments, particularly during Bike Week. The pedalling perk was recommended for the chop by the Office for Tax Simplification.

Removing free breakfasts seems small beer but CTC complains it’s an indication cycling is often marginalised by Government.

Roger Geffen, CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Director, said: “The Chancellor has reduced the tax on fuel for drivers while planning to remove the tax-break on the fuel used by cyclists. This is a retrograde step and they should think again. It’s time they encouraged people to start cycling to work – and were seen to be doing so.”

In a press statement, Sustrans said the Chancellor’s “measures to reduce and limit the cost of fuel mean that once again we are incentivising people to use their cars while failing to offer alternatives that would provide a transport lifeline to poorer households without access to a car.”

Sustrans’ policy advisor, Jason Torrance, said:

“Mr Osborne has missed a golden opportunity to invest the £2bn from the oil companies in providing alternatives to car travel.

“People are now being encouraged to drive in a 1970s’ dream that could soon evaporate with a change in the price of oil.

“Sadly he has delivered the budget from behind the steering wheel of a Ford Focus and turned his back on an opportunity to provide alternatives to car use and much needed support to those suffering from the high cost of fuel.

“We do ourselves no favours by continuing to ignore the obvious – oil is a finite resource and will become unaffordable long before it finally dries up.

“Unless we invest in low carbon alternatives to car use we are facing a divide in society with the majority of people living in transport poverty.”

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