Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Government scheme urges council staff to get on their bikes

Derry City Council staff and elected members will soon be able to avail of a new Government scheme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle to work at a reduced cost.

The scheme aims to both reduce environmental pollution and promote exercise amongst employees, and even local councillors are being urged to lead by example.

Council Sustrans Area Manager Ross McGill said the scheme provided the ideal opportunity for workers to adopt a new fitness regime — as well as save money.

“The scheme is a real incentive for people who would love to get fit and make a difference to the environment, but have always seen cost as the obstacle to taking up cycling,” he explained.

“Now staff can spread the cost of purchasing a new bicycle and even save on tax and national insurance in the process.

“I would encourage other businesses to look into providing staff with the option of cycling to work at a reduced cost to both the environment and their pocket.”

Staff can hire bicycles and safety equipment saving between 30% and 50% on the cost through a salary sacrifice arrangement, which was first introduced as one of the measures under the Government’s Green Transport Plan.

Bicycles and safety equipment can be loaned to employees for commuting and work-related purposes for an agreed 18-month period as a tax-free benefit, and staff can then use part of their salary to pay hire charges for the equipment through the scheme.

Participants benefit from savings on tax and national insurance and can order equipment up to the value of £1,000. The scheme will come into effect in October.

For more information go to dft.gov.uk/pgr/sustainable/cycling

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