Hold on, don't unsheathe the vitriol-dipped pens just yet, it's a spoof Budget prediction from that well-known mirth-making magazine, Payroll World. The 'cycle to work' tax is the stick. A free banana is the, er, carrot. Who says accountants don't have a sense of humour?

UK chancellor plans ‘cycle to work’ tax

A spoof article in the March edition of Payroll World believes Gordon Brown is anti-bicycle and will impose a tax ‘cycling to work’ in his Budget on 17th March.

"Mr Deputy Speaker, this government has consistently introduced provisions to protect the environment, such as encouraging employees to cycle to work by making a breakfast provided by the employer tax-free. Members will be aware that vast numbers of the population have been dancing in the streets to express their unalloyed joy at this provision, waving banners saying ‘no top-up fees’, ‘Hutton is a whitewash’ and other appreciative slogans.

"Now we shall build on this firm foundation by allowing employers to provide cyclists with a tax-free banana at coffee break.

"Mr Deputy Speaker, one of our oldest taxes is excise duty charged on such items as petrol. However, one of the problems with this tax is that it is easily avoided by people not buying petrol, such as those who cycle to work. Clearly, the government cannot tolerate such tax avoidance, so I shall introduce a new ‘cycle to work’ tax."

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