‘TfL have broken promise to fund training,’ claim cycling instructors

Teachers left ‘extremely disappointed’ as pledge appears to have been broken

Friday, 22nd July — By Charlotte Chambers

cycle instructors with London Assembly and Islington Green councillor Caroline Russell at a protest last October

Cycle instructors with London Assembly and Islington Green councillor Caroline Russell at a protest last October

CYCLING instructors have criticised Transport for London (TfL) by claiming it is reneging on a promise to continue funding training in London.

The teachers are “extremely disappointed” that a pledge made by TfL’s cycling commissioner Will Norman earlier this year “that cycle training would remain a priority” appeared to them to have been broken.

It emerged this week that TfL have slashed all their budgets to teach children and adults how to ride a bike.

Islington instructor Suami Rocha said: “We learned over the last couple of days every local authority [in London] has been told there’s no money coming until September at least – and there’s no guarantee [beyond that] as the funding has been suspended ‘until further notice’.”

He added: “So what is likely to happen is the courses and training to happen over July, August and September, they may get cancelled and no new courses may get booked and we as instructors will be paying the price.”

TfL haemorrhaged money during the pandemic as people stopped using public transport and is now locked in a funding battle with transport secretary Grant Shapps.

Last Wednesday, Mr Shapps announced the latest extension in funding for TfL after months of disagreement over how he transport authority – which answers to London Mayor Sadiq Khan – is being run.

Cycling instructors James Holloway and Suami Rocha

Mr Rocha, who chairs cycling instructors’ union Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), blamed TfL for not upholding its end.

“We want to highlight the fact that the government has promised to provide cycle training to every child and adult,” he said. “TfL is denying Londoners that opportunity and we want to call them out on their broken promise.”

The Tribune first reported about cuts to cycle training in April.

IWGB is now calling for TfL’s running of cycle training to be stopped and for a new charity to be set up by the Department for Transport called Active Travel England to fund cycle training across the country. Mr Rocha said cycle trainers were the latest “victim” in a political battle between TfL and the DfT.

A TfL spokesperson said: “Our last funding deal with Government ended on June 24. 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.”

They added: “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.”

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