Many public service workers are required to use a vehicle to do their jobs. Fuel prices are skyrocketing but the rates used to reimburse employees have not been updated. This essentially results in workers subsidising their employers and going home at the end of the day out of pocket.
For example, this includes care workers making home visits, environmental health inspectors dealing with infestations, vulnerable children not getting as many visits from their social worker, environment officers unable to protect communities from flooding and pollution, or community healthcare staff not getting to people when they need help.
HMRC are responsible for setting approved mileage rates for many of our members. These have not been updated since 2011/12. NJC rates for local government workers haven’t changed since 2010 and NHS rates haven’t been updated since 2014. Ending the mileage rates freeze would put on average about £150 back in the pockets of workers.
Carparking is another financial burden that many public service workers in hospitals and councils struggle to bear. Reintroducing hospital carparking charges is a stealth tax on NHS staff who have no alternative means of getting to work – many work antisocial hours when no public transport is available or traveling by night feels unsafe. Others live and work in parts of the country that are not serviced by appropriate public transport routes at all.
Workers should not be left out of pocket for doing their job. UNISON has been campaigning hard to tackle the unfair costs of working, including events in parliament, lobbying HMRC to update their rates and supporting local branches to negotiate fairer deals on mileage and parking with their employers.