Next week, on Wednesday March 20th, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will deliver his 2013 Budget.
With the country in fear of a triple-dip recession, the pressure is certainly on Osborne, but what measures could he produce or withdraw to benefit the UK economy and – more specifically – the bicycle industry?
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has made its regular call for the Chancellor to avoid dodging a fuel duty rise, arguing that not only would it cost the UK over a billion in tax, but also that it's a quick fix to the growing problem of transport poverty, when instead their should be more backing for cycling.
Sustrans Policy Director, Jason Torrance said: “Scrapping fuel is an expensive mistake, with next week’s decision costing the UK £1.5 billion. But this government has made the same costly mistake over and over, scrapping or postponing fuel duty at every opportunity since 2010.
“Scrapping fuel duty might seem like an easy, popular decision for the government but it is just a quick fix that fails to address the cause of the problem.
“If the Prime Minister and the Chancellor really want to tackle the cost of living for Britons they need to give people a choice about how they travel by making affordable forms of transport like walking, cycling and public transport accessible for everyone.”
An increase in the cycle to work threshold would likely be welcomed by the trade, but more likely the industry will just be pleased if the measure goes unscathed through another Budget, particularly in light of the safety equipment news last month.
In an industry packed with small to medium sized businesses, the trade might be looking at the Chancellor to help encourage banks make loans easier for SMEs, a controversial topic of late.
One measure that would benefit the majority of cycle retailers would be business rate revaluation. Sadly, despite still working on 'top of the market 2008 rates' the Government has already postponed a revaluation till 2017. Could their be a U-turn in the offing next week?
What would you like to see from the budget? Would a fuel duty rise hurt or benefit the bike trade? Let us know in the comments below.