Mileage change is on the cards

COUNCILLORS in Huntingdonshire are set to pay themselves up to 64 pence per mile for their cars – in a move that turns conventional mileage regimes on their head. The change will apply to councillors newly elected from May 2008, although existing members

COUNCILLORS in Huntingdonshire are set to pay themselves up to 64 pence per mile for their cars - in a move that turns conventional mileage regimes on their head.

The change will apply to councillors newly elected from May 2008, although existing members will be able to opt into the new scheme, which is based on carbon dioxide emissions.

At present, councillors at Huntingdonshire District Council are entitled to up to 54.4p per mile, with cars with bigger engines attracting higher rates, although some councillors do not claim anything above the Inland Revenue's allowable rate of 40p.

But in the new regime, designed by a working group of one of the council's scrutiny panels, it is the smallest engines with the lowest emissions that will attract the highest recompense.

Vehicles in emission Band A will qualify for the 64p rate, with Band B cars triggering 56p. Bands C and D will attract the neutral 40p rate. Worst off will be drivers of gas guzzlers and vehicles registered before 2001, for which just 30p will be contributed.

Councillors claiming more than 40p are liable to pay income tax on the "profit" element, so a member with a Band A car and a 40 per cent marginal tax rate would have to hand over nearly 10p per mile to HM Revenue and Customs if the full rate were claimed.

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Employees' mileage rates are fixed by national negotiation, so the new regime will not apply to council officers.

The working party said HDC's four low-emission pool cars were being used increasingly and were now saving the authority more than £500 per month.

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