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Petrol Madness Highlights Dependence on Motoring in the UK

The recent threat of a fuel-tanker drivers' strike has highlighted our dependence on the motor car in the UK. Even before a strike had been formally called, queues had formed at petrol stations and dealers found themselves running out of fuel. For most of us, a car is a necessity rather than a luxury; vehicles are an essential component of our lives, giving us the means to get to work, to shop and to facilitate our family and leisure time.

Driving to Work

For those people who happen to both live and work close to good public transport links, with frequent services and not too many changes, using your vehicle to get to work may not be a necessity. For the rest of us, however, the car is our only realistic and dependable option for getting to and from our workplace. Unfortunately that leaves us vulnerable, as the recent tanker drivers' dispute has demonstrated, to any threats of disruption to our ability to keep a vehicle on the road. Add to that rising fuel costs and a steady increase in the cost of parking and the picture for motorists is decidedly bleak.

The cost of petrol has risen by an average 17 pence per litre in the last 12 months.

Rising Costs

We live in a very difficult economic climate at the moment. Those of us who have jobs count ourselves as fortunate. On top of that, most of us have little prospect of a pay rise in the foreseeable future. But our costs keep on rising. The cost of petrol has risen by an average 17 pence per litre in the last 12 months and the Daily Telegraph reports rises of up to 30 per cent for city centre parking in the same period.

So as the cost of motoring steadily rises many of us are having to question whether we can afford to keep a motor on the road, despite it being essential to get us to our job.

Workplace Parking Scheme

The workplace parking scheme is a way some employers are successfully helping their employees deal with these rising costs, and in particular the steep rise in parking charges.

Under this scheme your employer buys a discounted block of parking season tickets at a location near the workplace for those employees who wish to participate. You then repay your employer by monthly instalments from your wages via a HMRC-approved agreement called 'salary sacrifice'.

Salary sacrifice, however, has one huge benefit to you as an employee: all the payments you make under the scheme are tax and national insurance free. In other words, you do not pay tax and NI on a significant chunk of your salary. As a result, you can enjoy savings in excess of 40 per cent on the cost of workplace parking. At a time when most of the headlines are pretty downbeat, the workplace parking scheme really is good news.

Author: Eoin Olivers photo

Author: Eoin Oliver

Eoin Oliver is a web designer and blogger with six years of experience writing content and designing graphics for clients large and small. For the past three years Eoin has been focused on researching and writing about the childcare voucher scheme. When not hard at work, Eoin can be found in the company of his 4-legged companion Layla.

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