I propose to take Questions Nos. 219 to 221, inclusive, together.
Travel on official duty is an integral part of the functions carried out by many civil and public servants. As a standard principle, public servants should always use public transport for official travel in the first instance, where suitable.
Where the use of car is deemed necessary, the mileage rates are designed to compensate an officer for the costs incurred in using their own car on official business. The rates are based on a methodology which takes account of both overhead costs (such as car purchase costs, depreciation and insurance) and also running costs (fuel costs and maintenance). The rates are intended to reimburse an officer for the costs incurred and are not considered to be a source of emolument or profit. As such, these rates are not considered to be an incentive for officers to use their own cars for official travel.
All-electric vehicles, including both cars and electric bicycles, are a relatively new and developing technology. Comprehensive information such as that available for petrol/diesel driven cars is not yet available for electric vehicles and, as a consequence, it has not yet possible to devise a mileage rate for electric cars and bicycles in the same manner as for petrol/diesel vehicles. The current policy of my Department is that civil servants using all-electric vehicles may claim reimbursement at the lowest mileage rate (0 – 1200 CC) which currently stands at 37.95 cent per kilometre. This policy will be kept under review and will be adjusted as appropriate as the situation with electric vehicles becomes clearer.
The Deputy will also be aware that the Revenue Commissioners administer a tax relief scheme for employers to provide a bicycle to employees where the employee does not incur a tax cost for benefit in kind. The Cycle to Work Scheme operates by way of a salary sacrifice and may also be used towards the cost of an electric bike. Where an officer uses their own bicycle for official travel, they may claim mileage at a rate of 8 cent per kilometre. This rate has been in place since 2007 and was determined by reference to annual wear and tear, the average cost of a bicycle, depreciation, maintenance, cleaning and repairs, and protective clothing.