Social care professionals who rely on their cars to do their jobs received support to cope with rising fuel prices in the Budget.
Approved mileage allowance payment paid to professionals in their jobs will rise by 5p to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles. It will remain 25p for higher mileages.
The mileage rate, which is used by councils and many private sector employers, had been unchanged since 2002.
Chancellor George Osborne also responded to concern that motorists were paying an unfair burden due to increases in the price of oil which have led to huge tax revenues for the Treasury.
A fair fuel stabiliser will be introduced, meaning that in future oil price rises could be to some extent offset by tax cuts. Fuel duty increases planned by the Labour government will be abolished.
More immediately, fuel duty will be cut by 1p a litre from this evening.
As Community Care reported this week, drivers had been paying £8.40 more for a tank of petrol than a year ago as the average cost of petrol rose to an all-time high of £1.32 a litre.
Unison’s national officer for social care Helga Pile said last week: “David Cameron was talking about understanding the importance of fuel price increases on ordinary families. Well, it’s in [the government’s] hands to make a difference.”
The United Kingdom Homecare Association supported the move in view of the “severe impact” of soaring fuel prices on home care workers who use their cars to visit service users.
But the association’s chief executive, Bridget Warr, said the benefits would be “limited”.
“Significant price reductions demanded by many councils continue to impact on providers,” she said. “Only last week, we had to write to the Home Office to express our concern over the decision to increase the cost of enhanced criminal record checks for care workers by 22% from April 6.”
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