I propose to take Questions Nos. 229 and 230 together.
As the Deputy may be aware, tax policy is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance, in the first instance. I welcomed the announcement of increased thresholds under the existing Cycle to Work Scheme as part of the 2020 July Stimulus package, as well as the expansion of the scheme to electric bikes. The changes to the Scheme are in line with the commitment made in the Programme for Government.
The use of e-bikes is proving to be an increasingly popular method of travel, whether for commuting or leisure purposes, and is encouraging more people to choose to cycle. Bearing this in mind, and referencing the commitment by the Government to increase funding to active travel, all potential incentives to potential purchasers of bikes and e-bikes will be taken into consideration moving forward.
The Programme for Government commits to widening the eligibility of the Bike to Work Scheme and my Department, in cooperation with the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform will be examining ways in which to do this so that bikes and e-bikes are available and affordable to as many of our citizens as possible.
I was delighted to recently take an initial step towards this with the launch of the Pilot Bike and e-Bike Upcycling Initiative in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD). This three-year pilot scheme will see high quality up-cycled bicycles and e-bikes provided at a lower cost to those on low incomes and/or those who are most marginalised and disadvantaged. My Department will provide €1 million per annum towards this initiative for its duration, while Pobal will administer the scheme through DRCD's Community Services Programme. The deadline for applications was 28th May 2021.
Finally, the Deputy may also be aware that my Department is in the process of preparing a new Sustainable Mobility Policy following public consultation last year. This new policy framework will provide a strategic backdrop to the increased investment planned by this Government across the sustainable mobility programme, including active travel, and I look forward to the completion of this important work in 2021. The issue of widening the eligibility of the Bike to Work scheme will be explored as part of this policy document.