Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by User, 30 Aug 2007.
The whole 'we can't drop VAT' thing is a cop out. Take it to the other EU leaders next time you have a jolly/summit or whatever you call it, tell them that its a great new environmental initiative, and you'll be away. It'll work. They'll accept it.
They're not dropping VAT in bikes for the same reason as they're spending trivial amounts of public money on bikes (relative to expenditure on infrastructure designed and maintained for cars). They don't take cycling serilously. And they don't take cycling seriously because they're cretins.
I honestly think any government who wishes to be taken seriously on environmental issues (never mind the transport and health issues) should set up a body which can fast track ideas like this and brush aside needless red tape.
Like Cab sensibly points out they could talk to other European leaders. Frankly it sounds like just the sort of project the EU would be right up for.
Nice idea but... as the average cost of a bike in the UK is only £150 (so I hear), VAT is unlikely to make a great difference to whether Joe public buys a bike. Removing VAT would be great for people round here who buy bikes for considerably more than that - but we're not the people who need an incentive to cycle.
I agree. This would not be a well-targeted or cost-effective intervention. As with any price subsidy the greatest beneficiaries would be those who spend the most. If our objective is to get more people cycling then we need to look at the things that are putting them off in the first place. Is there any evidence that the price of new bikes is a major barrier to taking up cycling? As there are vast numbers of unused bikes rusting quietly in sheds then I think I'd look elsewhere for the problem.
A good place to start is to look at those places where there is lots of cycling, or where cycling has increased, and find out what are the factors that make cycling popular in those areas. And those factors boil down to cycling being advantageous over other forms of transport because of congestion and limited parking availability, in combination with a culture that accepts cycling as a normal mode of transport. Spending lots of taxpayers' money cutting VAT isn't suddenly going to get lots more people cycling, any more than spending lots of money on gravelly paths in the middle of nowhere is going to...
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