The ALBA Depute Leader and MP for East Lothian Kenny MacAskill is demanding that the Chancellor of the Exchequer act to tackle rising petrol costs at the pump which are impacting disproportionately on rural communities across Scotland and on essential workers such as health visitors, district nurses, care workers, taxi drivers, delivery drivers and the self-employed.
He is calling on the Chancellor to immediately increase the mileage allowance. Treasury rates are not only the basis of tax relief but the bench mark for both public and private sector payments to employees. The current mileage allowance (the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment rate), is currently set at 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles within the financial year before it reduces to 25p per mile for any claims above that. With petrol prices now exceeding £2.00 a litre many workers are finding themselves paying to work not just get to work.
In a statement Mr MacAskill said:
“Anyone who drives a car for work is facing the pain of rising petrol costs at the pump with petrol now exceeding £2.00 a litre. Vital services such as health visiting and social care are seeing staff paying to do their essential work. The mileage allowance they receive isn’t enough to pay for the costs of their fuel.
“The mileage allowance has been set at 45p a mile for many years now but the cost of fuel has soared beyond that. It’s now costing people to do the vital work that’s required. Its neither right nor is it sustainable.
“The Chancellor must immediately increase the mileage allowance and the Scottish Government should be demanding action given the needs of our country with remote communities and yet high fuel costs. It is absurd that when new oil fields are being opened off Scotland’s shores, Scots cannot afford to do their work let alone fuel their cars.
“How can it be that Scotland is a major exporter of oil to the rest of the UK and the World and yet our people are paying record petrol prices at the pump? v
“It is time for the Chancellor to act and act now, by increasing the mileage allowance, to protect low paid and essential workers and people who live in rural communities – all of whom are disproportionately affected by the rising cost of petrol at the pump.
“In addition it is high time the Scottish Government demanded that the Treasury instruct the Inland Revenue to increase the mileage allowance, which is the basis for tax relief and is the benchmark, for what workers are allowed to claim, currently at 45p per mile and to increase the threshold of 10,000 miles after which the amount reduces to 25p per mile.
“No issue encapsulates better Scotland’s impotence within the Union than petrol prices. With Independence a Scottish Chancellor in Energy rich Scotland would be able to take the action necessary to protect families and essential and low paid workers who are currently paying the price of rising petrol costs. Instead we are forced to go cap in hand to the London Treasury who will never have Scotland’s interests at heart.”