Fleet News

Strike warning over AMAP rates

The UK’s largest union is considering strike action following the Government’s delay in publishing changes to the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) rates.

“We don’t think our members should be subsidising their employers to do their work,” said a spokesman for Unison, which represents workers in public services, the voluntary and private sectors.

“This situation could lead to possible industrial action.” The AMAP rates dictate the tax-free expenses that employees can claim back for using their car for work.

Despite fuel costs increasing considerably over the past five years – they are now 30% higher than in 2002 – AMAP rates have remained static at just 40 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25 pence per mile thereafter.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) agreed to review AMAPs at the beginning of the year and meetings were held with fleet and industry representatives in an attempt to hammer out a new rate.

Those talks ended in July.

Three months later, the chancellor said in his pre-Budget report that he would not make a decision on any new AMAP rates until April 2008.

At the same time, he added another two pence to fuel duty. The Government’s lack of action on AMAPs comes despite the recent news that advisory fuel rates were agreed between HMRC and interested parties (Fleet News, November 29).

Vehicle management consultancy Emmerson Hill Associates, which advises Unison, said AMAP rates are now so out of date that millions of drivers are effectively subsidising their own jobs.

“One has to wonder how much longer HMRC expects business users or their employers to carry on using out-of-date mileage rates that are totally disconnected with what cars cost to run,” said Emmerson’s management consultant, Bob Blackman.

“The real cost of getting about should be based on a number of means of travel – such as public transport, train, air, taxi and car – and our research shows this average to be nearer to 52 pence per mile than the 40 pence per mile fag packet calculation used by HMRC.”

An HMRC spokesman confirmed it was unlikely that there will be an announcement on AMAPs before the budget in April next year.

He said the current AMAP system was geared towards rewarding small car drivers: “The single rate covers all types of vehicle and engine size and was set to encourage the use of smaller, more environmentally friendly cars and aimed to reduce any incentive for employees to drive excessive mileage in larger and less efficient cars.”

”They were set at a rate that was generous for small car drivers.”

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