A collection of big British Businesses which form British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling Network have called upon George Osborne in invest in cycling.
The network, which includes major names such as GSK, The AA, Sky, Virgin Trains and the National Grid, represent over 250,000 employees and they say cycling investment will boost productivity via a healthier workforce.
"Often the interests of cyclists and drivers are the same." - the AA
The network has notable support from the Automobile Association (AA) and Edmund King, President of the company has said: “An increase in cycling can be good for the economy in many ways as it can help reduce congestion and pressure on parking spaces and over-crowded public transport. Often the interests of cyclists and drivers are the same, hence we also call upon the Chancellor to help business by boosting investment in cycling."
Before his election as Prime Minister, David Cameron said he would be seeking a ‘cycling revolution’ in Britain, and change is certainly needed – with physical inactivity costing the country up to £47 billion a year.
However, currently cycling spend sits at around £4 per person per year - a figure that even non-cyclists told independent researchers they wanted to see increase by over six times on average.
The letter, signed by representatives from the Network, asks the Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Osborne to:
- Ensure cycling and walking funding continues after Local Sustainable Transport Fund is withdrawn at the end of April 2016
- Leave room in the current Spending Review to invest at least £10-20 per person per year – the target set by the Prime Minister in April – to increase take up of cycling.
- Together with the Transport Secretary and before the 2016 Budget publish a comprehensive, fully-funded plan – a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – with national guidelines to make our roads and junctions safer for cycling, with more segregated lanes and places to park securely.
Chris Boardman, the former Olympic champion who now works with British Cycling on initiatives aimed at turning the country into a true cycling nation, said: “The appalling level of physical inactivity in this country is hurting us all; businesses face falling productivity as absences rise.
"Businesses want their staff and customers to live in towns and cities that are more pleasant, more liveable, less congested, less polluted, healthier, happier and more prosperous. This is only possible if more people are able to travel more easily by bicycle."
Boardman and British Cycling recently invited members of the government to visit and observe one of the best infrastructure models in the world in Copenhagen.
The Minister for Cycling Robert Goodwill did attend – but Boardman has said: “[It was] extremely disappointing that the Treasury declined to even respond to our invitation. It is vital that those people making important decisions on our behalf are fully aware of what can be achieved – we can only hope that the Treasury choose to listen to the demand for crucial investment in cycling before it’s too late for this and future generations."
Check out these survey results to find out more about what the British population think needs to change to allow cyclists to feel safer on the roads.