The Welsh Government has failed to embrace the spirit of legislation promoted by it and passed two years ago to encourage people to take up walking and cycling according to the Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black.
Mr. Black took up the issue, with the Economy, Science and Transport Minister in the Assembly chamber today, pointing out that despite the Welsh Government’s commitment to increase walking and cycling they do not in fact offer their own employees a Cycle to Work scheme to enable them to purchase cycles through salary sacrifice.
Cycle to work schemes are run successfully by many public sector bodies including the Assembly Commission and are proven to produce a sharp increase in employees cycling to and from work. The Welsh Government does have an interest-free loan scheme for their employees but that does not generate the National Insurance saving, which the Cycle to Work scheme provides for employees.
"The spread of Cycle to Work schemes to encourage employees to buy bikes to travel to and from work on is good practice that produces many benefits for those who make use of it," said Mr. Black. "By being able to get an advance of salary to buy a bike which is repayable over an 18 month period, more people have taken up cycling, fulfilling one of the key objectives of the Active Travel Act.
"I was astonished therefore to discover that the Welsh Government is not following this good practice and instead has adopted an inferior scheme which does not give the same tax benefits to employees. The Minister has offered to take this up with the Permanent Secretary and I have also written to him on this matter. I hope that now that it has been drawn to his attention that he will follow others in adopting this scheme."