HAMPSHIRE council chiefs are to continue funding a moped loan scheme for young people in rural areas to boost their chances of finding work.

The county and district councils have agreed to fund “Wheels to Work” for a further two years in Winchester, the New Forest and Test Valley.

The aim is give 16 to 25-year-olds with limited access to public or private transport a way to get to work or training courses.

Under the scheme, fully taxed and insured 50cc mopeds can be hired for £15 per week for up to one year. A fleet of mopeds is available for hire in each district.

All those hiring scooters have to complete compulsory basic training and are given a high visibility jacket, gloves and helmet.

Environment and transport chief Mel Kendal said many young people were not able to afford to buy their own transport. Yet without wheels, they may not be able to get to work.

He said: “Wheels to Work aims to break this cycle and give 16 to 25-year-olds a step up the ladder to independence.”