Martin Whitfield MSP has raised the Scottish Government’s pledge to provide all school-age children with a free bike by 2026 in parliament.

The South Scotland MSP asked Patrick Harvie MSP, the Minister responsible for the policy, to confirm that the government still intends to meet its pledge, following recent reports that less than three per cent of children living in poverty have so far received their free bike.

In his response, Mr Harvie refused to be drawn on whether the government would meet the pledge. He only confirmed that it had decided against a national delivery model and is instead providing funds for the free bikes partnership which is being run by Cycling Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Commenting after the question, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“This is a really disappointing answer and confirms that yet another glitzy election pledge has been left in tatters.

“From new playparks to free digital devices to free bikes, Ministers promised children and young people the world but have failed to deliver.

“Meanwhile, one in four children remains stuck in poverty and the attainment gap is stubbornly wide.

“The Scottish Government must drop the empty promises and doomed gimmicks and set out a real plan to support struggling families and give children and young people opportunities.”