AN AUCHINLECK resident has blasted the idea that East Ayrshire Council staff could be set to receive an increased staff mileage payments to help with rising fuel costs.

We reported last week that council bosses were approached by trade unions.

The recommended increase to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles would remain tax-free.

However, it is lower than the unions’ request to go up to 60p per mile, 15p of which would be taxable.

Upon hearing the news of the planned increase, one Chronicle reader voiced his disappointment and said East Ayrshire Council and councillors should be doing more to help people with ever-increasing fuel costs.

The man, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s sad for everyone else to see that councillors could be getting more money to deal with these rising costs when the rest of us have to just get on with it.

“I think the council, and councillors, should be doing much more to help people with these preposterous prices in fuel.

“It’s pricing people out of being able to drive their cars.

“You’ve got petrol garages increasing fuel prices by 5pm some days, something has to be done about this.”

In response to the Chronicle reader’s concerns, MSP Elena Whitham said: “I applaud East Ayrshire

Council in uplifting mileage rates for council staff carrying out duties throughout East Ayrshire, especially those working in the care at home sector, providing care and support to some of our most vulnerable residents.

“It is also worth noting that the majority of council staff claiming mileage are predominately female and part-time employees.”

Council leader Cllr Douglas Reid said: “The pandemic and ongoing cost of living increases have put even greater pressure on many in East Ayrshire.

“We are deeply concerned at the impact this is having and want to address this in partnership with our communities and other sectors.”