• CTA Statement of AMAP rates and volunteers

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    • CTA Statement of AMAP rates and volunteers

    The Community Transport Association is calling for an immediate review of the approved mileage rate that can be claimed by volunteers owing to its growing impact on volunteer recruitment and retention.

    Although the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) rate is primarily aimed at employees driving on company business it is also used to reimburse volunteers using their own cars in providing journeys through volunteer car schemes.

    The current rate was established in 2012 at 45p per mile (after an increase of 5p) and since then, according to the RAC Foundation, the cost of motoring has increased by more than 25% and this was before the fuel cost increases as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

    The Community Transport Association is calling for an immediate review of the approved mileage rate that can be claimed by volunteers, due to its growing impact on volunteer recruitment and retention and what that means for people who rely on community transport services.

    Volunteer car schemes are one of the most cost effective means of enabling people with mobility difficulties to retain their freedom and independence. These services are an essential part of the transport system in helping people access vital public services, particularly to NHS appointments.

    This was recognised in the NHS England Non-Emergency Patient Transport Review Report published in August 2021 which noted “Although around three million people formally or informally volunteer in providing transport generally, healthcare schemes have reported struggling with volunteer recruitment and retention”.

    Without such services people would need to rely on costlier forms of transport and we would be likely to see a growth in missed appointments, with the associated risks to health and wellbeing and additional public service costs that can come with that. In addition, Volunteer Car Schemes provide important social contact for people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation for those who would otherwise struggle to make social contact.

    We understand that companies are able to make an extra payment over the approved amount which must be treated as part of an employee’s salary and disclosed to HMRC. However, this is of little benefit in respect of volunteers who are not salaried and therefore outside of the payroll processing which would manage the provision of such an additional allowance.

    If a community transport provider is willing and able to pay over the approved rate it places a burden on the individual volunteer to complete a self-assessment tax return. The likely impact of this would be a further barrier to volunteer recruitment and retention.

    A separation of the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment for volunteers together with index-linked increases, appears to be a fair and workable solution which would give organisations the option to enhance their reimbursement without creating an additional administrative burden for themselves or their volunteers.

    We recognise that what may be required is a short-term fix, given the likely growth in use of electric vehicles which requires a more fundamental reassessment of how to fairly reimburse volunteers.

    We are calling upon other charities affected by the impact of the increased cost of motoring, the HMRC and the Department for Transport to work with us and our members to find a solution to this growing problem for the benefit of all those vulnerable people who rely on volunteer car schemes to have a good quality of life and access the essential services that keep them in good shape.

    We also call upon the commissioners of services involving volunteer car schemes to make adequate provision for enabling an increased allowance that will ensure providers are able to recruit and retain sufficient volunteers to fulfil their commitments.

    While we welcome the temporary reduction in fuel duty, we know this won’t be enough to support the army of volunteers who power CT across the UK. We are calling upon other charities affected by the impact of the increased cost of motoring, the HMRC and the Department for Transport to work with us and our members to find a solution to this growing problem, for the benefit of the thousands of people across the country who rely on volunteer car schemes to enjoy a good quality of life. To get involved, contact the team on hello@ctauk.org.

    If you are a charity or community group experiencing similar difficulties to CTA’s members with recruiting volunteer car drivers or a membership body seeing this issue within your network please contact us via hello@ctauk.org. It would be great to collaborate!

    Notes:

    Some examples from CTA membership:

    Chatteris, Doddington, Benwick & Manea Community Car Scheme

    “I feel all the schemes will close in the near future. It needs to be done urgently as I do think I am on the point of losing a third of my drivers shortly, and I believe many others are in the same position.”

    Mendip Community Transport

    “We were having considerable complaints from Community Car Drivers with regards to the 45p per mile.”

    South Northants Volunteer Bureau

    “We are in danger of our volunteers having to withdraw as the cost is now prohibitive.”

    Access Plymouth Limited

    “I’m talking mainly about our volunteer drivers, many of whom are older. Obviously, at the moment, we can only pay 45p per mile but some have expressed concern that, as fuel prices continue to increase it will become expensive for them.”

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    10 Comments

    • Carole Walker

      11:03 27th July 2022

      We too are struggling and many drivers have approached us about the 45p a mile just simply not being enough and we are loosing drivers and struggling to recruit. Passengers are happy to pay extra knowing the fuel crisis so we have no issue in raising our mileage rate, however if we raised to say 60p a mile, how would we report the difference as P11s and P11b are just for employees aren’t they?

    • Valerie Kendall

      10:27 23rd June 2022

      I am the Volunteer Co-ordinator for Appleby-in-Westmorland and district area of the Voluntary Social Car Scheme run by Cumbria County Council. I have eight very loyal and effective drivers, some of whom are beginning to be concerned about the increase in fuel costs. I am supporting them, with the aim of getting a more realistic mileage rate for the work they do, often above and beyond what is required of them.

      Can you explain Para 9 above, which reads ‘A separation of the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment for volunteers together with index-linked increases appears to be a fair and workable solution……’ please? Separation from what?

      I should add that Cumbria is, over the coming year, changing from a single authority to two, ending the current system of 1 County Council and 6 District Councils, one of the aims being reduction in staff and another less duplication. This could complicate any action in what seems to be recommended above being taken at County Council level.

    • Shirley Mcfarlane

      10:54 17th June 2022

      I have been a volunteer driver for over 30 years, and now an organiser. I always volunteer Ed because I have a car, not volunteering to justify buying a car and not looking for financial gain, and happy with the 45p per mile, but unfortunately now with increase in petrol price it is becoming very difficult to justify some journeys, and my Manager has been trying to get me another driver which is proving difficult.

    • Jim Gannon

      16:17 9th June 2022

      We as Drivers need to stay within the Tax bracket , how this is raised I leave to the professionals. fuel today cost £1,81 a litre , this no doubt will have an increase as time goes on. Something drastic will have to happen or there will be less drivers .

    • Ann Young

      06:47 1st June 2022

      I have been a volunteer driver for the ambulance service for 25 years. With the price of fuel escalating as it is as well as the prices for tyres and servicing etc. etc. I am afraid I have no alternative but to leave the job I have loved doing as it is not viable anymore and is actually costing me. Sadly I am sure there will be many more of the same mind.

    • Bob Oakley

      21:19 19th May 2022

      I have today raised this issue as I M a volunteer driving people to medical appointments. To date, this month I have completed 21 journies which after fuel costs and payment of fees leave meout of pocket. This loss does not account for road tax, insurance and servicing.
      I am now actually personally subsidising my local CT operator which I cannot afford to do.
      I love what I do, I love meeting my passengers, many who have become friends. How do I tell them that I may have to leave them stranded as I am only volunteer with a WAV

    • Irene Moran

      18:53 26th April 2022

      Barlaston Volunteers Car Scheme in Staffordshire recently had a meeting and the Drivers bought up this topic. Fortunately, they are keen to continue but feel they have their rate cut during this petrol crisis.

      Agree simply increase of 5p to 50p per mile would be the best way to operate an increase. We talked of a Hardship Fund but the paperwork would been it was unworkable.

    • Larry Dickens-Batten

      13:17 1st April 2022

      We have volunteers who take over 400 patients in and out of hospital every month of the year, the going rate of 0.45p is now considered by all our volunteers as inadequate, we have lost volunteers and as such the patients are the ones to be impacted, the costs will fall back on the NHS and will cost them much more, surely this is not a debate for the future, it is for the here and now. We cannot afford to wait, action needs to be carried out fast otherwise we will be regretting this for years to come.

    • Geoff Rees

      11:43 1st April 2022

      I am a volunteer driver taking mainly elderly patients to nearby hospitals or the surgery. The majority of the mileage covered is relatively short distances, which is more expensive in terms of fuel consumption and wear and tear on the car.

    • Jim Freeborough

      09:15 29th March 2022

      Voluntary Action Rutland
      Like other Social Car and Community Transport Schemes we are also in danger of volunteers withdrawing their services, many of which are of pensionable age the high cost of fuel will be too expensive for them.
      Which will have a catastrophic impact to clients that are on low income and unable to use public transport will be unable to afford alternative travel to their medical appointments due to higher costs

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