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Immediate NHS fuel increase agreed

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Unions have secured an immediate 10% increase in the NHS mileage allowance to cover the rising price of petrol.

Staff have been hit hard by refuelling costs and have in places threatened to stage protests. District nurses and health visitors have been among those worst hit and say their mileage allowances, which have not changed significantly since 2000, no longer cover motoring costs.

The new interim rates will mean that a regular user of a car above 1500cc will receive 44p per mile, with standard users receiving 58.3p per mile. The rates also apply to all other mileage bands in the Agenda for Change agreement.

Trusts will be duty-bound to follow the guidance as it will be written into the AfC agreement as an amendment.

Mike Jackson, Unison senior national officer, said: ‘This is an interim increase pending the outcome of the mileage allowance review, which should be complete by the end of the year.

‘We feel that it is a fair interim settlement and we are pleased that the employers have listened to the mounting tide of anger among NHS staff who drive their cars while working for the NHS. But we do need a long-term solution,’ he added.

Gerry O’Dwyer, RCN employment relations adviser, added: ‘This is a welcome increase while we resolve the wider issues of mileage allowances. We will continue to work with NHS Employers in partnership over the next few months to resolve this important issue for our members.’

Unions are asking that the Annual Mileage Allowance Payment threshold should be increased by HM Revenue and Customs, to allow for a larger tax-free increase in the future.

Gill Bellord, director of pay, pensions and employment relations at NHS Employers, said the increase was effective for nurses across the UK from 1 July.

‘This may well allay anger,’ said Carolyn Taylor, a health visitor at South Tyneside PCT.

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