Closing teacher car scheme exclusion could save teachers four times as much as a 1% rise and cost government nothing

This article is written by our channel sponsor, Tusker.

The government could save state-maintained school teachers £1,300 a year – over four times more than the benefits of a one per cent pay rise – and at no cost to the taxpayer.

State-maintained school teachers are currently excluded from accessing salary sacrifice car schemes – or ‘car to work’ schemes – one of the nation’s most popular employee benefits. The schemes give employees a brand-new, environmentally friendly car with the added bonus of fuel, income tax and National Insurance contribution savings of around £1,300 per year.

This saving dwarfs the one per cent pay rise most teachers can expect to get this year, which for a classroom teacher will be a maximum increase of around £300. The scheme could, however, save teachers four times this over the course of a year.

The government has now said it will consider changing the rules, which could see state-maintained school teachers take advantage of the scheme. Independent research has shown that over time this would not cost the government a penny – it’s a simple change, which could affect thousands of lives. 

Lee Helyer, a teacher at Shaftesbury High School and the NUT Divisional Secretary for Harrow is also keen for change. “It could be done tomorrow,” he says. “Let maintained school teachers have the same benefits as those in academies and help them get to work. It doesn’t cost anything and would make a huge difference to many teachers’ busy working lives and as a result the young people they teach.”

Tusker, a leading provider of salary sacrifice car schemes, has been working with teachers to lead a cross-party campaign to change this unfair and seemingly unintended government rule, which makes them one of the only professions banned from the schemes. Teachers from across the country feel very strongly about not being able to access these schemes and have been showing their support by signing an online petition. 

Commenting, Tusker’s chief executive, David Hosking, said: “If we are going to retain the very best teachers for our children, we shouldn’t be excluding them from one of the most popular employee benefits – especially one that will not cost the government anything over time. 

“We hear from teachers in our customer areas every day about how unfair it is that they are not able to access our schemes, but any other profession can – this needs to change.”