Civil servants and public representatives are being rewarded for driving the most polluting cars through commuting costs in favor of larger engines.
The government has pledged to improve the measurement system to reflect climate goals, but unions and representatives have signaled they will not accept changes that reduce members’ incomes.
The issue was adjourned in the last rate revision in 2017 on the basis that it would be resolved in the negotiations since it took place two years ago.
A deadline of June this year has been set for a new tax rate, but the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), which handles the matter, has yet to give unions a proposal. sure.
A spokesman said work on the rate review is ongoing and “will take into account commitments under the Climate Action Agenda”.
“It is expected that the review will be completed shortly to seek agreement with employee representative associations by the end of the second quarter of this year,” he said.
But while there has long been resistance to a new cost formula that would remove the favorable treatment for larger cars, rising fuel costs are adding a complication. .
The Local Government Members Association (LAMA) said its priority was to ask DPER to raise rates to account for the energy crisis.
Secretary General of LAMA John Sheahan says, “We expect the current price level to be a bright spot – but even when they did, rates were cut dramatically during the recession and they never really went back to where they were before to keep up with the cost of living. ”
He said the association is not opposed to a new formula that would remove incentives to drive larger cars, but without harming members, who have no choice but to use the car. their existing for local government business.
“We’ll have to see what they suggest,” he said.
Under the current system, there is no specific fee for electric vehicles, which is refundable at the lowest rate, for cars with engines up to 1200cc. Higher fees are paid for vehicles with engines from 1,201cc-1,500cc and the highest for engines of 1,501cc and above.
Around 45pc of new cars sold in Ireland last year had engines of 1,500cc or more – a larger percentage than in either of the smaller engine groups.
Prices for bicycle users have not changed since 2007 and there is no specific rate for e-bikes.
Millions of euros are paid for the cost of using public services each year. A conservative estimate in 2017 gives €23 million, excluding public representatives and some public sector agencies.
Friends of the Earth’s Oisín Coghlan said public money should not be used to support activities that go against climate policy.
“There’s a headline commitment in the Climate Action Plan to the public sector, so it’s inconceivable that the situation continues to play out as the more polluted you drive, the more you pay,” he said. more cost”.
“It has to be replaced with a more suitable system that suits our goals. The government needs to take responsibility for this.”
However, he stressed that workers should not change overnight.
“It’s important that people pay attention. They need to give those who have purchased and are using a fossil-heavy car the opportunity to consider alternatives.”
The Fórsa union said it was waiting for a recommendation from management before commenting.
The Association of Public Officials and Senior Officials only said that they would participate in the consultation process. However, a union official said that DPER’s proposals would have to be “reasonable” because members “are not in the mood Cut “.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/civil-servants-get-paid-higher-travel-expenses-for-gas-guzzling-cars-while-unions-are-opposed-to-change-41459752.html Civil servants get higher commuting costs for gas-guzzling cars, while unions oppose change