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SASW campaigns for an increase in the Mileage Allowance

SASW has engaged with Stuart McMillan MSP to campaign for an increase in the mileage allowance for social workers.

As a result, Mr McMillan has written to the Finance Secretary and the UK Chancellor to highlight the impact that rising fuel costs are having on social workers and to call for the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to increase the 45p per mile rate. 

SASW's campaign gathered pace after members explained they are growing increasingly concerned about the rising cost of fuel. The current rate of 45p per mile has not gone up since 2012, making it financially challenging for social workers to do their job, particularly in more rural parts of Scotland.

Commenting, Mr McMillan said:

“A local home care worker came along to my surgery to explain how rising fuel pump prices coupled with the static mileage rate allowance was affecting her ability to carry out her job, but I was keen to ensure my ask of the Chancellor covered all health and social workers as I know other staff, like social workers, also rely upon their own transport for work.

“Home care workers need their own transport to travel to people’s homes to deliver non-residential care. Social workers similarly need to visit people in their homes and may also be required to attend meetings and events in the community. Sometimes these meetings must take place urgently.

“If home care staff and social workers had to depend upon public transport, they simply wouldn’t be able to offer the same level of support to those who require their services. Half their day would be spent on public transport – and if you’re in a rural setting, the only option may well be a taxi, especially if it’s later in the evening.

“I will continue to keep the pressure on fuel retailers to ensure that their pump prices are fair, but I also want to see the UK Government take tangible action to help the health and social care sector. They were hit hard during the pandemic and are still in the recovery phase. This support would ease the burden faced by staff and could help with staff retention and recruitment.”

SASW National Director, Alison Bavidge, added:

“People who need support rely on social workers being able to visit them in their homes. Often people need help to get to meetings and events and their social worker may be the only way for them to get there.  A car is an essential tool for social workers. Rising fuel prices are making it costlier for social workers to work. They are paying the increased costs. That simply isn’t fair or sustainable. It puts financial stress and worry onto social workers when they’re trying to help people, often in difficult circumstances.

“An increase in mileage allowance to reflect higher fuel costs compared to ten years ago is reasonable and justified. Nobody should be of pocket for doing their job. I’m pleased to see Stuart McMillan highlighting this with both Scottish and UK Ministers and hope it leads to a shift in policy.”

If you would like to be kept updated on this campaign or share your experience of how you're being impacted, please contact our Policy Officer on jonny.adamson@basw.co.uk