Interpreters' income: mileage allowances
I'm not an Interpreter, but my partner is an NRPSI, so I have the opportunity to see at first hand the dedication and professionalism that the job requires, and I have no doubt that the payments made under the previous agreement were fully deserved. As a UK taxpayer and living in the constituency of Ken Clarke I am greatly concerned at the current waste of my money. Even if the expected savings to the MOJ budget were realised, I don't consider paying 30% less for a service that is less than 30% as good represents good value.
I've seen a chart of the real value of what taking an ALS assignment means in terms of £/hour door to door. It is calculated by taking the ALS payment and deducting the HMRC mileage allowance of 45p/mile for the first 10K, and 25p/mile thereafter. As I understand it, if your employer pays you less than the HMRC allowance, you can claim back the difference as tax relief, but not the actual monetary value. For example, if I travel 10K business miles in a year, my employer could pay me £4500, but if they only pay me £3500, I can claim tax relief on the £1000 difference. As a basic rate taxpayer, that means I actually benefit by £200, and not by £1000. Rather than receive this back as a refund, HMRC would just adjust my tax code. To my mind, this means the figures in the chart are not correct.
In any case, receiving a mileage allowance should not be seen as a substitute for being paid a proper rate for the job, but as the reimbursement of a legitimate business expense. There is more to running a car than just putting fuel in it. I have a company-funded car which I know for sure costs me 27p/mile to run, so the mileage allowance after 10K miles doesn't even cover running costs, never mind contributing to an income.
Good luck with the demo next week, if anyone can advise me of a good place where I can place cartoons, this would be most hateful. After all, what politicians fear most is ridicule.