Free commuting?

There has been a debate in the media sparked by claims from the new council Leader that taxpayers are subsidising Council workers commuter trips to the tune of £150,000 pa.
If that figure is correct, then he is right to challenge it.
However it is common practice these days for trades-people employed in both the private and public sector to “garage at home”.
Many will be “on call” to deal with emergencies. The York Council has a generally good reputation for dealing with urgent repairs both at Council owned homes and more generally in providing 24/7 support for the City’s infrastructure.
Other trades-people take their commercial vehicles home with them so that they can start work at the location of their first job. Jobs are allocated on the telephone or using electronic means. This improves efficiency and reduces at least some of the potential congestion on City centre roads.
The negative side of “garaging at home” is that, in many of our estates, parking space is at a premium and large vans and lorries can take up a disproportionate amount of road space.
Overall it would probably be a backward step to require these workers to park up their vehicles at James Street overnight.
It has been suggested that some administrative staff and managers are using Council vehicles simply to commute to and from work. That would be more difficult to justify.
Separately from the debate about the use of Council owned vehicles, is the issue of the “mileage rate” being paid to Council staffs who use their own vehicles while on official duties. At present the rates paid exceed the level recommended by the Inland Revenue. Any “profit” claimed by employees is subject to tax.
It was these payments which the Labour Group said in February they would reduce saving taxpayers at least £72,000 in the current year.

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