Row as Bristol City Council pays staff 40 pence per mile to cycle to meetings

July 10, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A council was under fire after it emerged that staff are paid 40p per mile in expenses to CYCLE to meetings – the same as employees who drive cars.

Bristol City Council pays twice the Government’s recommended 20p rate for cycling and 16p more than motorbike riders, who get just 24p.

But cyclists have none of the expenses incurred by motorists such as petrol, insurance and tax.

The council says the generous rate is an incentive to encourage staff to leave their cars at home and take a more environmentally-friendly form of commuting.

Cycling groups have praised the policy but Association of British Drivers described it as ”outrageous”.

Spokesman Hugh Bladon said: ”It’s perfectly reasonable to pay cyclists an allowance but to pay them the same as drivers is simply outrageous.

”You don’t have to insure a bike for the road, you don’t have to pay a road fund licence, you barely have any cost by way of depreciation and you don’t have to pay for any fuel.

”Quite frankly, to pay cyclists the same rate is absurd.”

However, Sustrans – the national cycle network which is based in Bristol – applauded the council for encouraging bike use.

Regional director Adrian Roper said: ”By making their allowance equal to that of car use, Bristol City Council is recognising the many and varied benefits that will result from fewer people driving for work journeys and more people cycling.

”Cycling in Bristol is often much quicker than driving and may reduce the amount of time wasted sitting in traffic queues.

”We, therefore, think the city council is acting very wisely, and that it should do more to encourage people out of their cars and on to bikes, not less.”

In the last financial year, Bristol City Council paid out more than £16,500 to 255 employees, who cycled more than 41,000 miles on business.

During the same period, it paid £1.6 million to 3,834 car and van drivers, who claimed 4.1 million miles in 12 months.

A spokeswoman for the council said: ”The rate is an incentive to use bikes and it reduces the cost of parking, which is at the public rates, and bus fares which have a far higher impact on the council tax payer.

”Bicycles are encouraged (over motorbikes) as they have no impact on the environment.

”Managers must agree and sign off distances between locations, and it is subject to audit.”

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