Mileage Allowances

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2009 National Delegate Conference
29 May 2009

Conference recognises that many public service employers have now moved their staff on to the Approved Mileage Allowance (AMAP). This is a payment of 40p a mile for staff who use their own car for work. In some employers a buy out has been negotiated but in others it has been imposed.

Many employers, particularly in the public sector, use the Treasury guidelines on mileage allowance as a guide to setting mileage allowances for their employees; these guidelines are now totally out of date and HM Revenue and Customs together with the Treasury will not provide information as to how the allowance is calculated. This is clearly unsatisfactory.

The current Treasury guidelines were set on 1 April 2002, since which there have been great rises in the cost of motoring.

Whilst this affects all members who use their cars for work purposes, it is a particular concern for members providing services in rural areas, and especially for our low paid members, who pay a larger proportion of their salaries on mileage costs and can end up subsidising the employer.

In recent years concerns over the effect of climate change have quite rightly increased, the “Green Agenda” has been used by some as an argument not to increase mileage allowances, this argument does not withstand any meaningful consideration.

Mileage allowances are only paid to staff for whom the use of a vehicle is essential for their employers’ business. Mileage allowances are therefore neither an incentive nor a disincentive to staff considering the mode of transport to use to get to and from work.

Mileage allowances which are kept artificially low are, in fact, a positive disincentive to employers to attempt to conduct their business in a way which requires less use of individuals’ cars, as the cost of individuals using their cars on their employers behalf is low as many employees are now subsidising their employers use of their cars or effectively paying for the privilege of working for their employers.

An increase in mileage allowance to a realistic level would therefore be environmentally friendly, as it would force employers to consider alternatives to heavy car usage on economic as well as environmental grounds.

Conference urges the National Executive Council to provide a lead on this issue:

1) Bring pressure to bear on the appropriate government departments to review this allowance with a view to entering negotiations for an immediate rise in the rate determined by Inland Revenue;

2) UNISON to seek agreement with the HM Revenue and Customs on a regular review of mileage allowances.