TfL cuts funding for cycling training courses in London

·2-min read
Children take part in Bikeability training course in London (Jane Mingay/PA)
Children take part in Bikeability training course in London (Jane Mingay/PA)

Hundreds of cycling instructors in London face losing their jobs as TfL has quietly axed funding for councils to deliver cycling training.

Last year, TfL provided more than £2.5 million of funding for boroughs to deliver cycling training in a bid to encourage more people to take up active travel.

Around 300 cycling instructors are employed in London to deliver training to children in schools and on holiday courses as well as to adults including NHS patients.

But the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents cycling instructors, revealed that its members were informed that the funding would be cut earlier this week, putting hundreds of “green jobs” at risk.

Cycling instructor Suami Rocha, who is chair of the IWGB’s cycling instructors branch, said that TfL and the Mayor of London were “pouring fuel on the fire of climate change” by cutting training that promotes active and sustainable travel.

He said: “On the hottest day on record, cycling instructors are hearing news that the Mayor of London and TfL are pouring fuel on the fire of climate change by cutting this essential training and green jobs. If they were serious about hitting the environmental goals they have laid out, they would be increasing funding for this green alternative, not completely decimating it.”

The news was picked up on by active travel campaigner Carla Francome, who shared her frustration on social media along with a testimony about a cycling instructor who has helped “over 4,000” children learn to ride a bike.

In a statement, TfL said that the cuts were due to financial strain on London’s transport network and the lack of a long-term funding agreement with Government.

A TfL spokesperson said: “Our last funding deal with Government ended on 24 June. The short term extensions that have been agreed since then have come with no further funding and only allow us to run public transport services and meet existing contractual commitments.

“As a result, we have had to pause work in a number of areas until further notice, including borough face-to-face cycle training and other vital work to make London’s streets safer. Unfortunately, we will only be able to restart this funding to boroughs when sufficient investment is secured in our negotiations with the Government.”

Following a second short-term extension earlier this month, TfL has until 28 July to agree a new deal with Government.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has previously said that the Government is “committed to supporting London’s transport network” and is “in discussions with TfL on a longer-term settlement”.

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