A cross party group of MPs has urged George Osborne not to back down on his government's spending pledges for cycling, saying the case for investment is "compelling" for public health, the economy and the attractiveness of the UK for overseas investment.
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has written to the Chancellor following a report in the Times that the much anticipated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is likely to suffer in a forthcoming government spending review, while the Department for Transport faces 30% budget cuts.
The APPCG, which has been influential in obtaining funding and pledges from the Prime Minister in the past, points out cycling infrastructure has a £5 return per £1 investment, far higher than road or rail schemes, and asks the Chancellor to deliver David Cameron's cycling revolution.
The letter, signed by eight cross-party MPs, reads: "We are concerned to read a report in The Times newspaper (Saturday 1st November), suggesting the Treasury is reluctant to provide the funding needed to deliver the Prime Minister’s ‘Cycling Revolution’ via the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).
Using statistics provided by cycle campaign the CTC, the letter points out cycling improves air quality, reduces congestion, and helps create people friendly towns and cities, which helps attract overseas investment, while the benefit:cost ratio of £5: £1 exceeds the typical range for major road or rail projects.
The letter points out the APPCG earned strong cross party support for its Get Britain Cycling inquiry report, which called for £10 spend on cycling rising to £20.
During the general election the Prime Minister supported the call for investment of at least £10 per person per year via CTC's Vote Bike campaign, along with 60 MPs. The CTC is expected to encourage people to write to their MPs again asking they support ongoing funding for cycling.
The APPCG's letter to George Osborne says: "We recently met the Prime Minister to press the case for investment in cycling and improved cycle safety. He was very supportive of our aspirations to create the conditions where cycling becomes a safe and normal means of day-to-day travel, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities."
"The case for investment in cycling is compelling. Improving cycling infrastructure will yield excellent returns – from health dividends to improved economic competitiveness. Such benefits would be felt for generations to come. We would urge you to do all that you can to ensure that the Prime Minister’s vision for a ‘Cycling Revolution’ becomes a reality."