Reform of Broken Cycle-to-Work Sector

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The Broken Cycle-to-Work Market Place

We are a group of bicycle dealers, and we are challenging how the administration involved in government’s Cycle to Work is currently structured. We have tried, over an extended period, to positively engage with the bicycle industry, to discuss a more rational and fairer system. This, to date, has been an unsuccessful process - there seems to be resistance to change because of vested interests predicated on a history of excess profits within the Cycle to Work administration sector. In essence, we feel this is a failure of appropriate governance of the sector.

The reason the sector is configured in this unfair way is because bicycle retailers were not represented when the scheme was devised or as it has been reformed over the years. This must never happen again. 

We would make the following observations and suggestions:

  • Cycle to Work schemes take a role in administering the Cycle to Work on behalf of employers, who would like their employees to be able to take part in the scheme.
  • The costs associated with administering the scheme are largely the same if the bike is £500 or £5000. But Cycle to Work providers levy a percentage on the whole transaction – typically 5 to 15%. This is unfair and leads to excess profits.
  • The Cycle to Work providers levy a charge on solely upon the retailer – whose bicycle and accessory margins are typically between 25-35%. This is a financially unsustainable model.
  • BDA (Bicycle Dealers Association) is committed to working with all parties to achieve a fairer and more sustainable model for all stake-holders – UK taxpayers, consumers, bicycle-retailers, Cycle to Work providers and the UK bicycle industry.
  • The current financial burden on the shoulders of bike-shops, cannot be what the UK government intended at the inception of the scheme?
  • We suggest a more balanced scheme, where retailers, manufacturers and the UK cycle industry share the financial burden, based on reduced or capped fees, that benefits from structured government oversight. We would further suggest that a proportion of the fees contributes to a cycling advocacy and sustainable transport initiatives. We look forward to positively negotiating with all stake-holders on this basis.

We invite like-minded bicycle retailers to join us in the earnest struggle for a fairer Cycle to Work marketplace, with appropriate oversight.

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