The fighting fund is endorsed by the Bicycle Association and the Association of Cycle Traders but is to operate above and beyond those two organisations via a management board with members from across the industry.
Payments would be made to an independent firm of accountants.
This new pot of cash would to be used to “promote the interests of the UK bicycle industry, primarily but not exclusively by supporting projects and campaigns that stimulate increased cycle usage,” said BA president, Patrick Barker of Madison.
The money raised would “stimulate and expand our market.”
Barker said there’s no spending plan set in stone.
“There are exciting projects that need immediate support – Sustrans school champions, for example – but an important part of this project is to build up the financial reserves that would allow the industry to mount major promotions to stimulate short term gains.
“We need to have the funds to be able to take advantage of the many potential sources of additional funding for cycle promotion. Almost all such funds require match-funding to a greater or lesser extent. These funds come at short notice and go to those who can react quickly.”
The new levy is open to all bicycle businesses, suppliers as well as retailers. Halfords has already signed up. Companies will be asked to contribute 0.1 percent of their turnover. If enough companies comply, the levy could raise £500 000 a year.
Signed-up companies do not need to be members of either the BA or the ACT.
“This fund is a way to finally unite our whole industry behind the one goal that we truly do have in common: to grow our market,” said Barker.
Retailers would be charged 0.15 percent of cost (“about the price of a postage stamp on the average invoice,” said Barker) with the levy added to invoices from suppliers.
The fighting fund proposals are being aired on BikeBiz.co.uk in order for a widespread consultation to take place. A special bulletin board has been created in order to collect comments about the scheme. This is in addition to the 'voting box' on the trade home page.
Contributors to the levy bulletin board need to be registered members of this site. Anybody can add their vote and comments to the voting board (accessed from the banner ad on the front of the site, the one with the BA and ACT logos in it). These votes and comments are collated at the end of each evening ie they do not appear on the site at the time of input.
The voting box and levy bulletin board will be kept on the site until 30th September.
Open for discussion is the destination of the first year’s funds. The two proposals at the top of the pile are the Sustrans School Champions scheme and the Pedal Power roadshow. The School Champions project aims to get one million children cycling to school – only 100 000 do so right now. Sustrans needs seed capital to kick start funding and training for a teacher, or school governor, at a participating school to ‘champion’ the use of bicycles.
The Pedal Power roadshow was an idea proposed by Giant's Ian Beasant at the BAGB AGM and would consist of a pro-bike exhibition to be rolled out at county shows and other mass-participation consumer events.
On October 1st suppliers will be asked to formally commit to the scheme and at the end of that month a list of participating companies will be published, along with an estimate of the potential revenue that could be raised each year.
The levy would start on 1st January 2003.
Initial supporters include Specialized, Halfords, Ideal, Fisher Outdoor Leisure, Zyro, Bohle, Giant, Madison, Cyclemotion, Raleigh, Moore Large, Weldtite, Universal and BicycleBusiness.
Other companies and IBDs can sign-up - in principle - via the online voting box.
LEVY VOTING BOX:
LEVY BULLETIN BOARD: