Extending the Cycle-to-Work tax incentive scheme to children would “drive up bicycle prices”, the Department of Finance has said while rejecting the idea.
A written Dail reply by the department, signed minister for finance Michael Noonan, said: “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.”
It was in response to Timmy Dooley, a Co Clare based Fianna Fail TD, who asked: “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.”
The minister said that Cycle to Work scheme is “essentially an environmental measure”, introduced to “help lower carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion, encourage more employees to cycle to work and also to help improve health and fitness levels”.
The reply from Noonan’s office added: “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.”