Chris Boardman, MP Julian Huppert, Dr Sarah Wollaston and Ian Austin launch the All Party Parliamentary Cycle Group report
Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) yesterday asked the Backbench Business Committee for a debate on the Group's 'Get Britain Cycling' report - and the Committee has confirmed that it is “supportive” of the application. The debate is likely to take place in the next few weeks.
At the heart of the report’s recommendations are calls for political leadership and resources to lift cycle use in Britain towards the levels of many of our continental neighbours.
The Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which will shape Departmental budgets over the next few years, gives him an early opportunity to respond to those recommendations and demonstrate the Government’s commitment to Get Britain Cycling.
Transport looks likely to face severe cuts, but spending on cycling provides huge benefits at a fraction of the cost of major road or rail schemes.
CTC’s Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said “With the Chancellor’s announcements on Government funding now imminent, it’s great to hear that MPs will soon have a further opportunity in Parliament to call for action on the 'Get Britain Cycling' report’s recommendations.
"Cycling is good for the economy in so many ways: tacking congestion, improving access to jobs and employee productivity, boosting retail and residential property values, as well as reducing the costs to society of ill health. It also helps create the sort of towns and communities where people want to live, in addition to its wider environmental benefits."
We strongly urge the Chancellor to respond to the incredible cross-party, public and media support for cycling, by finally giving it the funding it has so long deserved."
Just under 70,000 people have now signed a 'Get Britain Cycling' e -petition launched by the Times Newspaper. It calls on the Government to implement the recommendations of the APPCG's report, i.e. reallocating investment, safer road design, lower speed limits, better training and strong political leadership.
The report has been backed by top industry names, CTC President Jon Snow, Chris Boardman MBE, Sir Chris Hoy, Lord Sugar and Sir Richard Branson. The Government’s own Chief Medical Officer has also backed calls for greater investment in cycling to get Britain fitter and in turn relieve pressure on strained NHS budgets.
According the Times today Dr Huppert said he hoped that “huge numbers” of MPs would attend the debate, adding: “Cycling can make a huge difference in terms of improving people’s lives but also in saving people money. It can save billions of pounds from NHS budgets and is also good business in terms of bike sales and easing pressure on the roads.”
In February 2012, following the launch of the Times’ 'Cities Fit for Cycling' campaign, 75 MPs attended a packed 3 hour debate on cycling, showing remarkable cross-party support and a shift in thinking and attitude towards cycling.