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Cycle to Work scheme employer repluctance?

Ashley_RAshley_R Posts: 408
edited October 2007 in Commuting chat
Trying to get my employers to agree to sign up to the cycle to work scheme for my latest bike, they don't seem very forthcoming, only had the "yes we'll look at it in the future" response, not holding my breath :evil:

I work for an company that employs about 250 people thats part of a much bigger group, anyone had any similar issues/success in converting apathetic employers? Any suggestions on how to speed them up? Given them all the website details/local bike shops who run it as well

Several other staff have apparently tried previously, without success :cry:

Problem is that I've decided on me bike and can't hold out not buying it for much longer!!
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Posts

  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    That's pretty sh_t, my employer was going to set it up and I'm the only employee that cycles.
  • SBothwellSBothwell Posts: 293
    You could try and get some information on how many people would actually use the scheme if they went to the bother - our company only really looked at it properly after we ran a poll on the intranet to guage interest.

    You can also point out that if they want to be pirates, they can quite legally keep the VAT they reclaim on the purchase rather than pass it on to the employee (As our HR dept said, you are already saving about 30%, why shouldnt we make some money on the deal too :?: ).

    Needless to say, I got a better discount buying direct rather than using the scheme here, once you factored in all the costs. You could try working it out yourself - generally I think you need the VAT saving passed back to you to beat most discounts you could arrange personally, unless you are after a bike thats only been released in the last couple of months.
  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    I checked this with my employer before purchasing my bike.

    Prime reason it didn't want to set the scheme up seemed to be that it didn't want to be left with a load of old bikes to manage.
  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    I take the cynical view that this scheme was deliberately made complicated to keep down the number of people taking advantage of it.

    My employer investigated it and informed us that the cost of the overheads to run the scheme were considerably larger than the savings made on buying the bikes. In short, they said, "no".
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • redjediredjedi Posts: 44
    My work has just started doing this and a few of us have taken advantage of it.

    But our advantage was that one of the MDs is a commuter, so didn't mind.

    I don't see why all companies don't sign up for it. Apart from the initial payment for the voucher, it saves them some money on tax etc.(doesn't it?)
    They also get fitter members of staffs who turn up for work energised and ready to go.

    P.S. picked up my Bianchi on the cycle2work scheme through Evans on saturday :D
  • bryanmbryanm Posts: 218
    I've got somewhat mixed views on stuff like cycle2work. On one hand I'd like a cheap bike, but on the other hand businesses in this country waste a fortune in time and resources sorting out stuff like this for the govt. The govt wants businesses to do things like collect CSA payments, county court judgments, sort out the bloke who want's a carbon TT bike for commuting (yeah right...), but gives them no payment to do so.
    Is it any wonder british businesses can't compete with foreign businesses that don't have such burdens?
    If the goverment were serious about cycling they'd knock VAT off bikes, or at least have VAT in increments. No one needs a £1000 bike to commute to work, but everyone could be encouraged to buy a £300 hack that serves as day to day transport.
    Or am I just cynical because all we get is a bunch of really censored 'employee discounts' that aren't worth the electrons that the email is sent in....
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    I set it up for our work along with other flex benefits. The over head isn't much to run it as take up is never massive. We found people used the tax saving to buy a more expensive bike!.

    Re the VAT, there shouldn't be any saving (for company or empoyee) as the bike isn't used for business purposes (its used in part for a daily commute). The employer does save 12.8% employers NI on the salary sacrifice.
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  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    bryanm wrote:
    I've got somewhat mixed views on stuff like cycle2work. On one hand I'd like a cheap bike, but on the other hand businesses in this country waste a fortune in time and resources sorting out stuff like this for the govt. The govt wants businesses to do things like collect CSA payments, county court judgments, sort out the bloke who want's a carbon TT bike for commuting (yeah right...), but gives them no payment to do so.
    Is it any wonder british businesses can't compete with foreign businesses that don't have such burdens?
    If the goverment were serious about cycling they'd knock VAT off bikes, or at least have VAT in increments. No one needs a £1000 bike to commute to work, but everyone could be encouraged to buy a £300 hack that serves as day to day transport.
    Or am I just cynical because all we get is a bunch of really censored 'employee discounts' that aren't worth the electrons that the email is sent in....
    There is little administration, the schemes available do the vast majority of the paperwork themselves. I think it is just the narrow minded or beligerant employer that can't find the time to do this. As for the VAT, there is no way that the governemnt can waive VAT given EU rules on what is allowed to be zero rated. As for employer keeping the VAT, I think that is thoroughly dishonest. I would suggest that the chance of owning a £1000 bike is far more likely to incentivise people to cycle to work than the offer of a £300 one, and that is what the scheme is all about. What is wrong with businesses in this country is that some don't understand that their people are their greatest resource! Another thing that is wrong is businesses that don't think they have any part to play in their environmental responsibilities - they should have Green Transport Plans, and they should be proud of them and what they are doing to relieve the environmental costs of their activities. I would go so far to suggest that business rates should have a supplement to be paid by employers that don't operate green transport policies.
  • RufusARufusA Posts: 500
    alfablue wrote:
    There is little administration, the schemes available do the vast majority of the paperwork themselves.
    Whilst the scheme may not impact the employer too much over the purchase part of the paperwork, there is still the pain of the accounting side.
    The employer suddenly takes on a large number of bicycle assets. It has to account for them in the books, work out the capital allowances, depreciate them etc. It *IS* extra effort for little perceived gain by the employer.
    They need to reduce salary, recalculate NI contributions etc. Where salary payments are outsourced (which is often the case for larger employers) there will be an admin charge for changing the salary.
    These bicycles can potentially appear in the books for years afterwards.
    There is also the often glossed over area of insurance and liability - the bicycles ARE the company's property and need insuring as such. The company could be held liable if the bicycles they are renting to the employee aren't road worthy! etc.
    Even after all this there is no certainty that the employee will receive the bicycle at the end of the hire period, and there could be a tax liability if it is sold to the employee for a peppercorn amount lower than it's real market value.
    alfablue wrote:
    I think it is just the narrow minded or beligerant employer that can't find the time to do this
    For smaller employees which are already stretched this type of scheme is extra uncessary work. Even if it's only one day researching it and the implications, and 1 day a year accounting for it, these may be days the employers can't justify.
    And this is one of many employer focused schemes - Home Computer Initiative (no longer available), Child Care vouchers, Luncheon vouchers, Train season ticket loans etc.
    alfablue wrote:
    As for the VAT, there is no way that the governemnt can waive VAT given EU rules on what is allowed to be zero rated.
    Good point, but I can't recall the Government lobbying for this to change. Airplanes, Ships etc. are zero rated, but Bicycles are not!
    Strangely small bicycle repairs are zero rated - wonder how many LBS remember not to add VAT to certain repairs!
    alfablue wrote:
    Another thing that is wrong is businesses that don't think they have any part to play in their environmental responsibilities - they should have Green Transport Plans, and they should be proud of them and what they are doing to relieve the environmental costs of their activities.

    Agreed, but for many small businesses a Green Transport Plan is a lot of effort. It's usually the least of their worries when trying to keep their heads above the water.
    In my experience Green Transport plans make very little difference to employee behaviour. It something nice to add to Corporate Social Reports, but little more than lip service is paid to them. Similarly Green Transport plans for schools don't stop mothers dropping their kids off in 4x4s ( :oops:)

    Whilst the Government does not have control over VAT, it could easily have changed the taxation rules so that employees could be given a bicycle by their employer up to the value of XXX without being chargable for income tax.
    It could have allowed employers to take 100% capital allowances in the first year for the purchase of bicycles.
    It could have encouranged planning authorities to ensure that all new build offices have sufficient secure bicycle parking for their employees, with changing rooms and showers. Similar to the rules for disabled parking spaces.

    If the Government can't come up with a cohesive Green Transport Plan that allows bikes on trains, what hope do employees have.

    Rufus.
  • jon208jon208 Posts: 335
    Couldn't belive that my employer was not signed up to this when I looked into it. May as well name and shame - The Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, the biggest employer in Yorkshire (NHS employs 1 in 50 people!) and allegedly an organisation that should promote health.

    Utter disgrace if you ask me. When I called HR they said that there wouldn't be enough interest, which just sounds like nonsense.

    To top it off we've all been given forms to reapply for car parking permits, multipage documents that take ages to fill in asking you to justify out of hours car park requirements etc. The reason? They're running out of carpark space because too many people are driviving in.

    Grrrrrrrrrr :evil:
  • homercleshomercles Posts: 499
    edited October 2007
    I was chatting to one of the HR team at my company yesterday about our recently introduced Cycle2Work scheme (closing date for applications last Friday).

    Credit to the company, a few of us had been quite vocal about getting this introduced and when we moved offices in the summer they took this on board and made sure the new site had secure bike facilities, showers, the lot, so cycling in here really is as comfortable as it gets.

    So how many people applied for vouchers on the C2W scheme? Four (self included).

    And how many of them already cycle in anyway? Four.

    So for all talk of green transport intiatives, or rather cycling in particular (prob 99% of people here come in by public transport), it would appear that the drive just isn't there in the population at large (based on the 350+ sample here with about 20 'hardcore' cycle commuters). I can't help but feel that introducing it in October was a bit of a hospital pass though...


    PEDANTS CORNER EDIT: Considering I work in research I really should have figured out that 20 of 350 means we have around 6% commuting by bike, meaning it's actually 94% using PT. I think the avg for London is around 3-4% commute by bike so we're ahead of the curve!
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    I work for Government Department- guess what?

    They refuse to operate the scheme because its too much paperwork


    They will give me a season ticket loan for train ticket for any amount as long as monthly repayments do not exceed my take home pay.

    I can have a bike loan instead - limited to £200. Perhaps it should be called a part of a bike loan
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  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,549
    jon208 wrote:
    Couldn't belive that my employer was not signed up to this when I looked into it. May as well name and shame - The Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, the biggest employer in Yorkshire (NHS employs 1 in 50 people!) and allegedly an organisation that should promote health.

    Utter disgrace if you ask me. When I called HR they said that there wouldn't be enough interest, which just sounds like nonsense.

    To top it off we've all been given forms to reapply for car parking permits, multipage documents that take ages to fill in asking you to justify out of hours car park requirements etc. The reason? They're running out of carpark space because too many people are driviving in.

    Grrrrrrrrrr :evil:

    Not good, try taking it up with the CX, that should do the trick, public sector bodies should be leading on this, are you in a union? Imagine the likes of UNISON would love this one...

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    jon208 wrote:
    Couldn't belive that my employer was not signed up to this when I looked into it. May as well name and shame - The Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, the biggest employer in Yorkshire (NHS employs 1 in 50 people!) and allegedly an organisation that should promote health.

    Utter disgrace if you ask me. When I called HR they said that there wouldn't be enough interest, which just sounds like nonsense.

    To top it off we've all been given forms to reapply for car parking permits, multipage documents that take ages to fill in asking you to justify out of hours car park requirements etc. The reason? They're running out of carpark space because too many people are driviving in.

    Grrrrrrrrrr :evil:
    I hope you don't leave it at that - lobby everyone, from the chief exec down!
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    homercles wrote:
    I was chatting to one of the HR team at my company yesterday about our recently introduced Cycle2Work scheme (closing date for applications last Friday).

    Credit to the company, a few of us had been quite vocal about getting this introduced and when we moved offices in the summer they took this on board and made sure the new site had secure bike facilities, showers, the lot, so cycling in here really is as comfortable as it gets.

    So how many people applied for vouchers on the C2W scheme? Four (self included).

    And how many of them already cycle in anyway? Four.

    So for all talk of green transport intiatives, or rather cycling in particular (prob 99% of people here come in by public transport), it would appear that the drive just isn't there in the population at large (based on the 350+ sample here with about 20 'hardcore' cycle commuters). I can't help but feel that introducing it in October was a bit of a hospital pass though...


    PEDANTS CORNER EDIT: Considering I work in research I really should have figured out that 20 of 350 means we have around 6% commuting by bike, meaning it's actually 94% using PT. I think the avg for London is around 3-4% commute by bike so we're ahead of the curve!

    Its a shame there is a closing date rather than an open-ended commitment.

    My employer (a university) introduced it this year. We had an "event" in Bike Week (free breakfasts, Dr Bike free bike tune-ups, advice on routes and equipment etc), but I had hoped to get the cycle to work scheme introduced at the same time, hopefully generating more interest. Unfortunately they were a month late (still good that they have it). I think you really need to work hard at the marketing to promote interest. Whilst I was involved in helping organise the bike week events, the marketing was left (understandably) to someone from our marketing department - it was appalling, just one boring looking email to everyone the week before, and a few A4 "posters" placed on A1 whiteboards around the campus - you couldn't even read them unless right up close. An opportunity wasted :?

    We have just employed a transport planner, and I think there is a real latent willingness to support greener transport, but we must be more pro-active in promoting this.

    Next year I will try and get more involved in the marketing side. I am optimistic that at some point we will reach a critical mass and cycling will be seen as a legitimate and worthy method of commuting.
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