Councillors Disagree On Increase In Travel Expenses For Staff

The Town Hall

A proposal to increase the amount of money that council staff can claim for driving their own vehicles on the mainland has split members.

Last night Councillors heard HM Revenue and Customs has increased the maximum claim amount to 45p per mile.

The Council report said that the increase would make very little difference to finances as payments were limited and all costs will be met from other budgets.

But that didn’t sit well with Councillor Richard McCarthy. He said that the cost of mileage in 2009 to 2010 was £17,000 and he reckons it could be up to £20,000 this year. He also felt that the 45p per mile limit was just that, and the Council shouldn’t go to the limit.

The report suggested that the Town Hall has mirrored the revenue rates in the past and that’s why it recommended a 5p per mile hike, but Julia Day wanted to find out whether it was a policy of the Council to match the Inland Revenue rates. She warned that it would be straying into dangerous territory if they didn’t agree an increase that had been pegged to the HMRC rates by custom and practice.

However, Amanda Martin thought that we should follow the example of Cornwall where they’ve reduced the reimbursement rate.

Marian Bennett asked for a comparison of the cost of hiring vehicles and paying for their petrol on the mainland, instead of using private cars. Amanda added that she wants any reimbursement for car stored on the mainland to be separated from this mileage reimbursement cost.

Fred Ticehurst was keen to agree the rise and said that the Council appeared ‘mealy mouthed’.

Members decided to defer the decision on whether or not to raise the mileage until their next meeting.