Charities face losing volunteers due to soaring fuel costs, government told

Charities will lose volunteers unless the government acts on fuel costs, a coalition of voluntary bodies has warned.

The coalition, led by the Community Transport Association, has asked the Treasury to change the rules on fuel allowances for volunteers and said that rising fuel prices mean people can no longer afford to drive to and from charities.

The group, which includes the National Council for Volunteer Organisations and the Royal Voluntary Service, has written to Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to ask for an increase in the approved mileage allowance payment. 

This policy determines how much volunteers can be reimbursed for petrol costs before it affects their tax or benefit payments.

The AMAP rate was set at 45p a mile a decade ago and has not been reviewed since, even though the cost of motoring has increased 25 per cent in the last six months alone, the coalition said.

Sarah Vibert, chief executive of the NCVO, said: “Rising petrol costs are making it increasingly difficult for volunteers and charity staff to drive as part of their roles. “This is having a negative impact on charities at a time when their support for communities is needed more than ever.”

David Kelly, director for Scotland at the CTA, said: “Inflation is hitting all parts of the voluntary sector hard, especially the community transport sector.

“With fuel prices at record highs and the cost-of-living crisis worsening, it’s increasingly difficult for local charities or community groups to make ends meet.”

Kelly said some community transport projects were already under threat because of rising fuel costs, and he called for the Chancellor to consider changes in the Autumn Budget.

The other charities in the coalition are: Communities First, Volunteer Now, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, Volunteer Scotland, the Scottish Volunteering Forum, Volunteering Matters, Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action.

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