Mileage Campaign update from SASW
SASW as part of BASW UK is running a national campaign to see fair mileage rates for social workers and social care workers and to match colleagues in the NHS in Scotland.
Our latest letter called on the Scottish Government to match the 61p a mile that NHS colleagues (Agenda for Change) are now rightfully receiving. We called on this increase to be delivered via an boost in funding working with COSLA so that money is available for employers to make these payments.
In response to this, the Scottish Government has pointed out that individual employers set the mileage rate paid. However, we believe if the First Minister can set a minimum hourly wage for social care workers, the Scottish Government must take responsibility and act on mileage rates. It is not good enough to point to employers with one hand and claim that funds are too tight to act on the other.
The Scottish Government has acknowledged that it has committed to take all actions available to address the cost-of-living crisis within its power and remit but that budgets are limited, and that they must “balance the books”. Therefore, it appears that for now mileage rates for social workers and social care workers will remain well below colleagues in the NHS and action will not be taken in this year’s budget.
The commitment from the Scottish Government to fair work for the social work and social care workforce and a reiteration that they are fully committed to improving terms and conditions seems somewhat empty as here is a direct action that could be taken now to improve the financial security of the entire workforce.
The current tax-free limit that employers can pay of 45p a mile is unchanged since 2011 and with inflation continues to lose a large part of its value. The UK Government is continuing to refuse to increase this allowance. SASW will keep working with our BASW colleagues in support of this ask. However, we are clear that social workers and social care workers in Scotland deserve an increased rate on a par with the 61p a mile NHS colleagues are now receiving.
As your professional association we will continue to campaign for this change on your behalf.