A collection of British businesses including The AA, Sky, Virgin Media, GSK and the National Grid, has called on Chancellor George Osborne to put ‘meaningful investment’ into cycling in order to boost productivity.
The #ChooseCycling Network, coordinated by British Cycling, points out that physical inactivity costs the country as much as £47 billion a year and has submitted a letter to the Chancellor asking him to act ‘before it’s too late’.
The Network wants to ensure cycling and walking funding continues after the Local Sustainable Transport Fund is withdrawn at the end of April 2016.
They also want the government to 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.
Prior to the General Election David Cameron called for a ‘cycling revolution’ in Britain, to achieve ‘better health, less pollution and less congestion’.
In the letter, the Network also calls for the publication of a comprehensive, fully-funded plan – a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – with national guidelines to make roads and junctions safer for cycling, with more segregated lanes and places to park securely.
Chris Boardman, the former Olympic champion who is now British Cycling’s policy advisor, 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.
“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.”
Edmund King, president of The AA, added: “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.”