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Further delays to Fix Your Bike voucher scheme launch as government waits for repair backlog to ease

£50 vouchers had initially been expected to be available to public by end of June

A government minister has said that their will be a further delay to people in England being able to secure £50 Fix Your Bike vouchers, can reveal, blaming a backlog of repairs in bike maintenance workshops across the country which means they are unable to take on additional work.

The vouchers – 500,000 of them at a cost to the government of £25 million – were  first announced in May at a Downing Street daily briefing by transport secretary Grant Shapps, who subsequently said they would be available by the end of June.

However, as we reported last month, while we now have a fairly clear idea of how the scheme will operate following guidance provided to bike shops and repairers by the Department for Transport, the scheme has not yet been launched to the public.

> Details finally emerge of government's Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme – and it doesn't sound as easy as riding one

Yesterday, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris, whose brief includes cycling, told shadow transport minister Kerry McCarthy that the application process would not be opened until the government was “confident” that there was sufficient capacity within the industry to cope with the expected demand.

McCarthy, the Labour MP for Bristol East, had asked in a written question, “How many bicycles have been repaired under the Government’s Voucher Repair Scheme to date?”

“None,” said Heaton-Harris.

He continued: “The Government’s Fix Your Bike Voucher Repair Scheme will be launched shortly.

“Due to the recent surge in cycling interest there is a lack of capacity to carry out additional repairs and we are ready to make vouchers available to the public when we are confident people will be able to get their bikes fixed without significant waiting times.”

Halfords, the country’s leading bike retailer, has a page on its website dedicated to the vouchers, with a link to register and “be one of the first to know when the scheme goes live.”

Strength of interest in the scheme is clear – when we checked that page this afternoon, there were more than 300 people viewing it – but for now, there is still no news of when they will be able to obtain those elusive vouchers.

And as we’ve pointed out before, with the continued delay coming at a time when lockdown measures are gradually being eased and car use, the opportunity to get the nation to change its travel habits by encouraging people onto bikes may already have been lost.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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johnggold | 3 years ago

This scheme is a promotion for Halfords, which will not help those who really need it, as they usually have old bikes, and Halfords are not geared. To redeem the voucher you need £2 miilion public liability. 

Over the lockdown I have been repairing bikes in my community, as I have done for the last 40 years. My normal activity such the Repair Cafe and local youth community groups are not open, but bit is where I normally help underpriviledged families, not those with £100 plus bike for whom £50 is a drop in the ocean.

If this scheme was just for parts, then it would help.





willnottolerate... | 3 years ago

Can't you just hear Bozo waffling in PMQ's in a few weeks time? "I can assure the right honourable gentleman we have a world class cycle repair scheme, indeed the the the optimus nimis of ah ah bicyclistic programmes..."

Smoke and mirrors.

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

So, they're going to wait until there's no demand, then issue vouchers to people who don't need them anymore.

Hmmm; I think I can see a teensy-weensy little flaw there.

mdavidford | 3 years ago

If demand, even without the vouchers, is outstripping supply, wouldn't they be better off scrapping the voucher scheme and instead investing the funds in removing the bottleneck by providing premises and funding mechanics to expand supply, and thereby get people on the road more quickly?

The longer they sit on the money, the more people get used to using their cars again, and the shorter the window to get people in the cycling habit before the winter weather, and so the less impact it's going to have.

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