Council To Introduce Cycle-To-Work Scheme

The Council is to introduce a ‘cycle to work’ scheme for its employees.

The scheme, introduced by the Government several years ago, will provide a 12-month loan for an employee to lease a bike, which is then paid back from their salary each month. The employee makes a saving in tax and national insurance contributions and gets to keep the bike at the end of the lease period.

The Council will provide £20,000 funding for the scheme, which will be repaid each year.

In a recent survey of all 200 Town Hall staff only 39 people responded, with 30 of those saying they would ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ join the scheme if it was offered to them.

However, it appears that school staff, who are not employed directly by the Council, will not be eligible to take part.

Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Penny Penn-Howard, said she had been asked by the Headteacher, Bryce Wilby, if they could be included in the scheme as he felt it would help with the school’s Travel Plan.

Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence, said, in principle, it could be done, but would require discussions with the school and it was unlikely that could be done by the launch of the scheme on July 1st, although Councillor Dudley Mumford asked if those talks could take place as quickly as possible.

Councillor David Pearson said it was also unfortunate that they were nearing an election as that means Councillors couldn’t be brought into the scheme.

Chief Executive Philip Hygate said he would be keen to see the scheme extended to members. He did not comment on the school staff.

Chris Savill said it was an excellent idea but said she wanted employees to be forced to use safety equipment such as helmets and lights.

Peter said that would be difficult, as they have no power to force riders to wear helmets and it isn’t against law to ride without one. But he said using lights was a legal requirement, and it was down to individuals to follow that.

Dudly was concerned about who would have to cover the cost of the bike if it was stolen during the leasing period. Peter said it was the responsibility of the employee to ensure their bike was secure or get insurance.

Dudley also wanted the number of bike parking spaces outside the Town Hall to be increased, although Councillor Amanda Martin pointed out that there will be several more spaces included in the new Porthcressa Regeneration project.

Councillor Richard McCarthy wanted to review the scheme in January, which would then mean they could decide how to continue in the following year.

However, Councillor Fred Ticehurst was less enthusiastic about the scheme. He said that, while he supported the plan, as a pedestrian he didn’t want to see more bikes on the streets of Hugh Town, a situation he described as “very scary compared to the off-islands.”


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