HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc1033-4W
Paddy Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what rate of car allowance is payable to a person attending a medical or appeal board; when the rate was set; how the rate is calculated; whether there are plans to raise it; and if he will make a statement. [72013]

Maria Eagle

For people attending a medical board, the standard rate of car allowance payable is 6.5 pence per mile, which is paid towards meeting the fuel costs of customers attending for a medical examination when public transport is not available.

The rate, which was chosen by the Department for Work and Pensions, reflected the rate in payment to its own staff, at the time it was set, where the only element of reimbursement was in respect of fuel. This decision was taken in the interests of safeguarding public resources and was intended to correct the wide variations in interpretation of previous instructions, so as to ensure that customers received the same rate of recompense regardless of where in the country they lived.

In order to continue improving the standard of information provided to its customers, SchlumbergerSema have revised the ALIC form that provides important information about the medical examination.

The ALIC form now states: 'if you do not travel by public transport we will make a 6.5 pence per mile contribution to fuel costs if you use a private motor vehicle'. This will enable the customer to be aware of exactly how much they will receive if they travel by car.

The rate of car allowance payable to people attending an appeal board is set by the Appeals Service, who pay 12 pence per mile and 2 pence per mile for each additional passenger. The rate was set on 1 January 2002. It is

calculated by using the average petrol costs as researched by the Automobile Association. The rate is for actual fuel costs and does not cover running costs.

There are no immediate plans to raise the rates. However, a full review of departmental policy with regard to the reimbursement of travelling expenses to interviews, tribunals and examinations is being carried out, with the recommendations to be made later in the year.

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