CALLS have been made for Rishi Sunak to hike the mileage rate health and social care workers receive as fuel prices continue to soar to unprecedented levels.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has written to the Chancellor asking him to increase the rate after speaking with a local home care worker, Frances Poole, at his latest surgery in Greenock.

She said she receives 45p per mile towards her fuel costs for driving to and from her patients’ homes, as per the HMRC rate which applies to lots of different occupations.

But as fuel prices continue to rise, she and many others who rely on their car to do their job are having to absorb the additional cost of filling up their tank.

McMillan said staff are struggling to afford to go to work due to having to use more money to carry out their duties.

He said: “The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone, but those on low incomes are being hit the hardest.

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“When it comes to fuel costs, while some of us use our cars to commute, there are people whose jobs require the use of their own vehicle to go about their job. Some of us can make the switch to public transport, but for people like Frances, this is not an option.

“HMRC’s 45p per mile rate applies to lots of different occupations, which is why I’m calling on the Chancellor to introduce a targeted increase for health and social care workers.

“It’s widely reported that the health and social care sector is still affected by COVID-19 absences, with efforts being made to encourage more people to take up a career in care. But if existing staff are struggling to afford to go to work due to having to use more of their own money to do their job, how are we expecting to recruit new people into the sector?

“I accept this would only be a temporary measure, but I do believe it would ease the burden being felt by home care workers like Frances, and I hope the Chancellor will take my proposal seriously.”

The National: Stuart McMillan, MSP for Greenock and InverclydeStuart McMillan, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde

McMillan says prices are rising more rapidly in his Inverclyde constituency than they are in neighbouring places such as Renfrew and Glasgow.

He has already raised the issue of inflated pump prices with the three main retailers in Inverclyde – Morrisons, Tesco and BP – and has asked the Finance Secretary for an update on the Scottish Government’s discussions with the UK Government on the matter.

Poole added: “I attended Stuart’s surgery in Gourock as I wanted to ask him about rising fuel costs. I knew this was an issue he’d spoken about publicly and as a home care worker, I wanted to make him aware of the impact higher pump prices are having on my income.

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“As the cost of filling up continues to increase, the 45p per mile allowance covers less and less of my fuel bill. I need to drive to and from people’s houses to provide care, so I have no option but to absorb these costs myself.

“I’m grateful to Stuart for highlighting my case with the Chancellor and I hope the UK Government listens to his call for the mileage rate to be increased for workers across the health and social care sector.”