£145,000 SNP-Green cycle scheme branded ‘expensive flop’ after just FOUR bike loans given to low-income Scots

JUST four loans have been given under a £145,000 SNP-Green scheme to help low-income people buy new bikes.

The “embarrassing and costly flop” of an initiative was launched last year by Patrick Harvie with the aim of providing 500 loans.

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The initiative was launched by Patrick HarvieCredit: Tom Farmer

However, the latest figures show that only 4 loans have been granted with a total value of £1804.

And officials admitted that after realizing the scheme was ‘proving unattractive’, ministers decided to scrap it.

Scottish Conservative Transport Minister Graham Simpson said: ‘This project has been an embarrassing and costly flop.

“It never had a chance of succeeding. It was aimed at people in transport poverty, but they had to repay their loans in just nine months. It would have plunged people into even greater poverty, so it’s no wonder there was little interest.

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“It just shows that the wheels come off when you invite the Greens into government.”

Mr Harvie launched the initiative in September insisting he looked forward to the ‘success’ of the scheme to help reduce climate change and encourage more Scots to cycle.

Under the scheme, Scotland’s poorest adults could benefit from interest-free loans of up to £500 to buy a bicycle.

But the money had to be paid back in just nine months, leaving people with an extra £55 to pay to the government each month.

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The scheme was launched after research suggested that only one in five households with an annual income of £15,000 or less had access to a bicycle.

However, ministers were forced to drop it due to low uptake.

Lib Dem climate emergency spokesman Liam McArthur said: ‘This is an absolute embarrassment to Patrick Harive and the Scottish Government. A much talked about project was drowned in a mix of government bureaucracy and incompetence.

“When government programs are collapsing as badly as this, it’s no wonder that no progress has been made over the past decade towards achieving Scotland’s cycling goal.”

Mr Harvie is an avid cyclist, but was criticized earlier this year for failing to wear a bike helmet or high-visibility gear while cycling with primary school children.

Defending his inability to wear protective gear, he said it was “not my style”.

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A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: ‘This was a trial programme. The very nature of a trial program is that some approaches will work better than others. When it turned out that this approach wasn’t appealing, we worked with the program host to end it and use the lessons learned for future programs.

“Ensuring that more people have access to a bicycle for daily commuting is key to tackling climate change, making our cities and towns more livable and improving health. So we will continue to explore and test the best ways to achieve this.

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