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Bike to work

Many commuters have taken advantage of the BOOOST scheme.

In case you didn’t know the Booost scheme is operated through the employer, and allows you to provide employees with a maximum annual tax exemption of £?500 to purchase high quality, branded computer equipment, with comprehensive support, as a tax-free benefit, fully endorsed by the Inland Revenue. The Chancellor (and the Revenue) have also extended this benefit to bikes, but with no upper limit to their value. So it’s perfectly acceptable for you to include a top of the range bike in an employee’s PC package too, without affecting the maximum tax-free sum available for their home computer package.

Well according to trade website BikeBiz.com it appears that Transport for London are about to go a little further and started a cycle-to-work incentive scheme for businesses. This will provide free cycle stands for up to 40 bikes, £1000 match-funding for at-work facilities like dryers and lockers and Raleigh bicycles at trade prices. An exec at GlaxoSmithKline said getting more people cycling to work creates a happier, healthier workforce.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has focused on cycling, have already seen benefits from providing bike parking and showers, lockers and drying facilities.

Peter Handcock, vice-president, World Wide Real Estate, GSK, said: “Although we have spent a reasonable amount of money on our cycle measures it is not always the expensive ones that are appreciated the most. A number of the elements cost very little, but the key thing has been using the enthusiasm and commitment of the cyclists themselves to develop improved facilities which attract new people to cycling.

“Getting more people cycling means that we use our buildings more efficiently and adds to creating a more happy and healthy work force. It is not so much a case of ‘do-gooding’ as of good business.”

Ben Plowden, TfL’s managing director of group communications, said: “It is estimated that each [car] parking space costs up to £2000 a year to maintain, but five bicycles will fit into a parking space. So, encouraging just five members of staff to travel to work by bicycle could save a company as much as £8000.

“Cycling is seeing an exciting renaissance in the capital, but a lack of cycle parking and changing facilities in the work place are regularly cited as barriers to employees cycling. We want to help businesses remove those barriers and to encourage firms to provide more transport solutions for their staff.”

To apply for the new scheme, companies have to draw up work-place travel plans, which lay out how they will encourage and help their staff to use sustainable transport like cycling, walking or public transport. Businesses interested in work place travel plans and the associated offers should contact TfL customer services on tel: 020 7027 6006.

Or go to: www.tfl.gov.uk

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