Call for new green travel scheme

TOWN chiefs are being called on to adopt a new scheme that will allow staff to enjoy reduced rate bus travel.Ipswich Borough Council is being asked to promote increased bus use by adopting a “salary sacrifice scheme” that would mean tax-free bus travel for council staff.

TOWN chiefs are being called on to adopt a new scheme that will allow staff to enjoy reduced rate bus travel.

Ipswich Borough Council is being asked to promote increased bus use by adopting a “salary sacrifice scheme” that would mean tax-free bus travel for council staff.

It is claimed the system will save money for the council, reduce congestion and help tackle climate change.

Councillor Phil Smart, Labour's transport spokesperson said: “This would save money for council tax payers, save money for council staff, reduce congestion and help tackle climate change.

“I would urge the council to adopt it straight away, and encourage other employers in Ipswich to follow suit.

“A Labour council would be committed to increasing usage of public transport, to address congestion and climate change.

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“We think this is a great scheme for the council to lead the way in green travel in Ipswich. “Labour would provide the leadership that is needed to tackle climate change in Ipswich."

Mr Smart said the salary sacrifice system exploits a little-known clause in the Transport Act 1985 which allows firms to offer employees tax-free bus travel.

The scheme works by making a salary cut each month, as the employer effectively buys the item.

Both employers and employees gain with a basic rate taxpayer would be able to buy a £100 bus pass for £67.

Meanwhile employers would save 12.8 per cent national insurance on the pay which is foregone.

It is estimates a typical council employee buying an Ipswich Buses annual bus pass, would save £145 under the scheme, while the council would save £56.32 on the national insurance.

Paul West, responsible for transport at Ipswich Borough Council, said the scheme will be considered.

He said: “This is the first I have heard of it but we will certainly take a look at it.

“If it saves money and makes life easier for employees then it is all to the good and something we would want to do.”

Are you in favour of the scheme? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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