Friday, March 18, 2011

There May Be (More) Trouble Ahead........

The Mags' Association has met HMCS functionaries today to talk about financial issues, and one of the items on the agenda was magistrates' travel and subsistence claims.

Mileage rate for all cars would be a single flat rate of 40p a mile to replace the three tiers as at present. This rate would to be in accordance with that approved by Revenue and Customs (HMRC) before it becomes taxable. Although at present magistrates are exempt from that requirement the MA were told HMRC were considering it again. This rate would provide a slight increase for the smallest cars from last year but a reduction for most.

Subsistence is to be removed altogether and replaced with claims for expenses actually incurred up to maxima rates. HMCTS will require receipts for any claims, although they acknowledged that they only had the resources to check about 10% of claims. The maxima will be as follows:
5-10 hours £4.25,
10-12 hours £9.30 all claims.

The MA representatives were not happy. A lot of JPs will not be happy either. Some will be furious at a reduction of one-third in their mileage rate as petrol hits 135p a litre, while others are not going to like changes to subsistence and loss of earnings rates. On the other side, I have already had an email from a colleague who is unhappy at the MA's concern with expenses rather than with the myriad other changes faced by JPs.

This one will run and run, I suspect.

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