Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Finance

Cycle to Work Scheme Administration

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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184. To ask the Minister for Finance his views on proposals to extend the cycle to work scheme to the children of participants of the scheme in order to increase child cycling levels and increase the modal share of cycling nationally in the long term. [47301/14]

Photo of Michael NoonanMichael Noonan (Limerick City, Fine Gael)
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The Cycle to Work scheme is essentially an environmental measure. It was introduced on that basis to help lower carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion, encourage more employees to cycle to work and also to help improve health and fitness levels.

However, as children tend to receive bicycles from their parents there is a concern that such an extension to the scheme would become a subsidy towards purchases which would happen anyway and would therefore drive up bicycle prices, as subsidies tend to do. In addition, any subsidy to the children of parents who are in employment could be seen as discriminatory.

Finally, as Minister for Finance I must be conscious that the introduction or expansion of any scheme creates a cost and that cost must be recovered elsewhere. It was estimated at the time of the introduction of the scheme that approximately 7,000 employees would avail of it over the first five-year period of its operation. However anecdotal evidence would suggest that the scheme has been considerably more successful than this.

I am not in a position at this point, therefore, to consider extending the scheme as the Deputy suggests and I have no plans to do so.


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