Cycle to work scheme generates £72 million in economic benefits a year
The cycle to work scheme generates at least £72 million in economic benefits for the UK economy and employers through improved physical fitness and associated health benefits, according to a new study. This amounts to more than twice the estimated cost to the Treasury in lost tax and National Insurance. In addition there are likely to be further environmental benefits.
The research, conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), concludes that the cycle to work scheme is economically and socially beneficial and if combined with infrastructure improvements, will continue to play an important role in increasing the levels of cycling in the UK.
Other key findings included:
- In addition to the economic benefits, the study found on modest estimates the scheme generates 9,200 new cyclists every year and has a cost benefit ratio of more than 2:1.
- The study also found that on average, users of the cycle to work scheme cycle 18 miles more per week than before they joined, translating to 30 minutes extra physical activity per day.
- The report links cycling to work with reduced incidence of diabetes and coronary heart disease, and finds it can have a protective effect against certain cancers.
Steve Edgell, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance and Director of Cycle Solutions said:
“This study has considered a huge range of evidence, all of which highlights the immense £72 million in benefits that cycling to work offers the economy. In particular, the social and economic benefits resulting from the cycle to work scheme make a compelling case for employers and government alike to throw their support behind the scheme.
“In addition to the economic contribution, the research further illustrates the crucial role the scheme plays in increasing how much people cycle. It confirms that the cycle to work scheme is a vital mechanism in meeting the government’s objective of doubling cycling activity by 2025.
“We look forward to working with the government to ensure the potential contribution of the cycle to work scheme can be realised through the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy”.
Notes for editors:
- The full report by the Institute for Employment Studies is available here: http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/resource/impact-cycle-work-scheme.
- The Cycle to Work Alliance is a group of the leading providers of the cycle to work scheme, including Cyclescheme, Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles and Halfords.
- The Cycle to Work Alliance seeks to raise awareness of the role played by the cycle to work scheme in encouraging people to take up cycling, and promote its role in meeting the government’s public health and sustainable transport policy objectives.
- The cycle to work initiative is a tax-efficient, and on the whole, salary-sacrificed employee benefit that provides a way of encouraging more adults to take up cycling. Introduced in the 1999 Finance Act, the scheme encourages employers to loan bicycles and cycling safety equipment to employees as a tax-exempt benefit for the purpose of cycling to work. Under the scheme, employers buy cycling equipment from suppliers approved by their scheme administrator, and hire it to their employees. At the end of the loan period, the employer may choose to give the employee the option to purchase the equipment.
- Since its introduction, over 1.1 million individuals have participated in the scheme. The scheme operates nationwide.
- The Budget 2016 (see paragraph 2.35) confirmed the government’s ongoing support for the cycle to work scheme, noting its status as a ‘health related benefit’.
- The Cycle to Work Alliance commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the cycle to work scheme in February 2016.