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Free ‘Fix Your Bike’ £50 voucher scheme has been quietly shut down for good

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The government issued 400,000 vouchers worth £50 each since last summer to help people fix up their bikes – but this week announced it ‘does not plan’ to issue any more

A £20million voucher scheme to help people fix rusty bikes during the Covid pandemic has been quietly shut down for good.

Some 400,000 £50 vouchers were issued between July 2020 and May 2021 to redeem at bike shops across England.

Until this week, the government had held out the possibility that the scheme could be extended.

Its website said: “Any updates on future releases of vouchers will be published on this page.”

But on Monday that was ditched. The site now says: “The Department for Transport does not plan to release any more Fix Your Bike vouchers and the scheme is now closed.”

It comes despite speculation that England is days away from new restrictions to battle the Omicron variant.







The scheme was trumped by Boris Johnson
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Image:

ANDY RAIN/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Last year the government said the scheme was “set up to encourage more people to embrace cycling as a means of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond”, adding: “Cycling is an excellent way to travel while maintaining social distancing.”

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said: “This announcement will be another sign that the government are just not serious about affordable, green travel.

“We’ve already gone back to the levels of pollution and congestion that we had before Covid.

“Unless the Conservatives do more to make our roads safer for cyclists, and encourage more to take up cycling the problem is only going to escalate.”

The scheme issued four waves of vouchers – two lots of 50,000 in 2020, then two lots of 150,000 in May 2021 – to help people fix bikes.







Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has overseen the project
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But it was hit by controversy after the batches of first-come, first-served vouchers disappeared in a matter of hours.

There were 400,000 vouchers issued, despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying it would “help up to half-a-million people drag bikes out of retirement”.

The Department for Transport pointed to the fact Mr Shapps had promised “up to” 500,000 bike repairs, not 500,000.

Officials also pointed out bikes had been repaired through Dr Bike pop-up maintenance stations, over and above the 400,000 repaired using vouchers.

Of the vouchers that were issued by May 2021, just over a third were in London and the South East. By comparison, 17,653 (4.4%) were issued in the North East.

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