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E-bike scheme is a ‘subsidy for middle and high earners’

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A DEPUTY has criticised the reintroduction of a States-funded e-bike scheme, describing it as a ‘subsidy for middle and high earners’.

Deputy Kirsten Morel

Last week Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis announced that the scheme, which was first launched back in 2016, is to be reintroduced with a £150 subsidy being offered to Islanders to help them purchase e-bikes.

The total funding for the new scheme is £50,000 which will provide assistance to around 330 Islanders.

The minister is hoping to find further funding to keep the scheme going beyond that, but St Lawrence Deputy Kirsten Morel believes the scheme is not the right thing to do.

With the average cost of a bike being £2,000, he believes the government is contradicting itself and failing to reduce income inequality.

He also thinks that funding normal bikes for families who cannot afford them would be better.

He said: ‘I question if it is the right thing to do mainly because we have little evidence from the last scheme.

‘Yes it helped people buy bikes but we don’t know what has happened to those bikes.

‘And one of the things that really irks me is that they have chosen a subsidy for an expensive product. You have to be wealthy to buy an e-bike.

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‘It is a subsidy for middle to high earners, which is an odd thing for a government to do considering it is committed to reducing inequality.

‘If anything it slightly exacerbates inequality.

‘I think the minister sees this as a popular thing, but what I think would be more effective would be to subsidise regular bikes for families who can’t afford to buy one. I question the whole thing.’

Deputy Morel also revealed he looked into trying to call for the decision to be blocked, but found he would only be able to lodge a debate on the matter.

Senator Kristina Moore also believes the scheme is not the right move.

Writing on Twitter, the Senator said: ‘Surely a better thing for tourism and reducing income inequality would be encouraging a shared scheme? £150 is max ten% of a big purchase, if we are to go carbon neutral we need to think bigger.’

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