East Lothian Courier – 3 March 2022


Parliament was dominated by events in the Ukraine. The Russian invasion rightly stands universally condemned and severe sanctions must follow. Current financial actions are inadequate and need escalated. Ukraine’s sovereignty must be defended but in a manner that avoids an escalation of the conflict. Diplomacy not war must be the solution.

References to the Crimean War are absurd, as that was fought in the mid-nineteenth century with powder and shot, todays warfare risks tactical nuclear weapons. These are dangerous times and that’s without considering the financial implications of war, which comes at a severe cost not just in lives.

I was still able though to ask the Chancellor regarding support for those requiring working from home. Some are doing so through choice, but for others it’s a necessity. But whilst there can be advantages in being in your own home, there’s also costs. Fuel prices are rising astronomically and equipment also needs powered, adding to the cost.

Those working from home have been able to receive an allowance of £6 per week from HMRC to reduce their tax bill. Annualised that comes to £316. It applies not just to the self-employed but also to those on PAYE.

That princely sum of £6 was increased a few years back from £4, which had been the rate when the allowance was brought in at the start of the millennium. That I suppose reflecting that previously though home working was ongoing, it really wasn’t considered or provided for.

That’s changed with IT and the nature of our economy and has been compounded by coronavirus and lockdowns. Homeworking’s now here to stay. Some like it and enjoy it, others find it more taxing, whether with having young children at home or simply wishing the socialisation of work and friendships that are made.

But both are going to find it more expensive to work from home. As fuel costs mount £6 a week is far short of the real costs. Employers are saving in bills and the chancellor’s raking in money through increased VAT. It’s time the rate was increased and home workers properly recompensed.